Monday, 05 October 2009 18:00 Written by Amy Givler
Numerous reports have linked exposure to coal ash to an increased risk of cancer, birth defects and other health problems for the communities who live close to dump sites. Last year, a slurry broke in Tennessee, dumping a billion gallons of ash into waterways, burring houses and destroying ecosystems. The spill also raised concerns in Kentucky and other areas with coal ash. Lesley Stahl looks at the health effects and the safety of coal ash in her 60 Minutes report last night on the coal industry. Stahl interviews several coal industry representatives on the impact of coal ash on human health. From refusing to say “coal ash is safe” to arguing that it’s the same as dirt, this inside look into the coal message machine and the actual damage it’s doing to the people who live close to it is a must-see. Check it out: Watch CBS News Videos Online
IES Abroad gives their students more than a great study abroad experience – they help their students make a difference in the fight against climate change. Even if you’re not attending their newly established Environmental Studies & Sustainability program in Germany’s black forest, IES has made it easy to calculate and offset your abroad experience’s carbon footprint with Carbonfund.org. Through our affiliate page with IES, students can calculate the carbon footprint of their flight to their abroad destination and any flights they take while they are studying. IES students, when they’re not skiing in the Alps, scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef, dancing Tango in Buenos Aires, or eating Tapas in Barcelona, can now fully understand and neutralize the climate impact of their travel. IES has lead the way in greening study abroad. Their Go Green InitiativeTM has significantly improved their Chicago headquarters and worldwide offices’ environmental performance. Through this program, IES has significantly reduced paper usage, switched to FSC certified paper, encouraged their employees to save energy, reduced their carbon footprint, increased recycling, and reduced water usage. They’ve even gone the extra mile by composting leftover food and powering offices with renewable energy in some locations.
Monday, 05 October 2009 17:06 Written by Jason Fitzgerald
Sitka Technology Group is a leader in designing custom software packages for sustainability focused organizations. In addition to offsetting their annual carbon footprint through participation in the CarbonFree® Partner program, Sitka focuses on helping governments and nonprofits with their environmental software needs. With a strong belief that collaboration is vital to creating effective software, they help clients attain their sustainability objectives so that our communities can prosper. Their most recent project is a great example of how their award winning custom software excels at meeting their client's needs. Their new web application gives the public unprecedented view into the workings of the largest fish and wildlife restoration program in the world. This interactive web 2.0 application, www.cbfish.org, makes it simple for anyone with computer access to map habitats and compile costs and results into easy-to-read charts. Users can zero in on specifics of thousands of fish and wildlife projects, from wetland restoration in the Columbia River estuary to screening of irrigation diversions in Idaho.
Friday, 02 October 2009 16:25 Written by Shira Silberg
The Union Station Bike Transit Center, dubbed the first commuter bike station on the East Coast, in D.C. is having its grand opening and accepting memberships online. To learn about the offerings and memberships at the 100+ bike facility, visit the Bikestation site. Bike and Roll, a leading bicycle rental and tours company, is handling the day-to-day operation of the Center, located adjacent to Union Station.
Friday, 02 October 2009 14:39 Written by Shira Silberg
Virgin America is the Official Domestic Airline of the Governors' Second Annual Climate Summit in Los Angeles from Sept. 30-Oct. 2. Also, Virgin America released its first annual Climate Report today describing their unique sustainability efforts and emissions data for 2008. When Virgin America launched in 2007 they took great care to incorporate sustainability into every aspect of their business. They not only use more efficient aircraft, regulating cruising speed to reduce fuel burn, and encourage customers to offset the impact of their flight through Carbonfund.org, they even use organic hand soap in the airplane bathrooms! Earlier this year, Virgin America became the first U.S. airline to join The Climate Registry and commit to reporting emissions according to The Climate Registry's standards. We are proud that our partner is an innovator and a leader in sustainability efforts for the airline industry. Flying somewhere? Check out this page where you can offset your trip! If you're reading this in-flight, remember you can offset your trip during flight on Virgin America's RED™ in-flight entertainment system.
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 15:24 Written by Shira Silberg
USA Today's Traci Watson reports that the draft of the Senate bill released today calls for 20% reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. This is an increase from the 17% reduction required by the House bill. The bill would initiate a cap-and-trade system much like the House bill, and would also provide financial assistance to workers who lose their jobs because of the new legislation. The draft doesn't provide detail on who would receive emissions credits that could be worth millions, a topic in Senate negotiations. These details may determine the bill's success, but as Tony Kreindler of the Environmental Defense Fund pointed out the draft is merely a jumping off point and will change significantly in the coming months. President Barack Obama weighed in on the bill's release, saying his administration is "deeply committed to passing a bill that creates new American jobs and the clean energy incentives that foster innovation." The most important thing about the bill is that it makes steep cuts in global warming pollution and includes provisions that crack down on old, dirty coal power plants. These are important steps in the right direction. Please join us in letting your Senators know that this bill is important to you! Call your senators today-toll free-and tell them to support a bold climate and energy bill.
Tuesday, 29 September 2009 13:00 Written by Ivan Chan
College of the Atlantic, the first college known to become carbon neutral, is now offsetting its emissions through Carbonfund.org and supporting the truck stop electrification project. Available in over 30 states around the country, the project enables long-haul truck drivers such as those carrying freight across states to avoid idling their engines for power and for heat/air conditioning. Drivers can instead get connected to equipment at truck stops to, for example, power and heat their cabs, which can save about a gallon of diesel an hour and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) and other tailpipe emissions. “Colleges and universities are uniquely positioned to demonstrate that acting wisely to address the challenge of climate change is both the right thing to do as well as the smart thing to do. Higher education has a fundamental responsibility to move beyond business as usual, and set an example for our students and for society. Inaction in the face of the indisputable knowledge we have about a future dominated by the consequences of climate change would be inconsistent with our values and our mission.” said David Hales, president of the College. COA, which became carbon neutral in Dec. 2007 following a pledge to be the first, is a member of the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) program. The College recently filed its Climate Action Plan with the program, detailing further steps to reduce carbon emissions. Already, the College has taken steps to reduce its carbon footprint, including: - a comprehensive energy audit and energy efficiency improvements to campus buildings. - using renewable electricity - opening six energy-efficient student residences in August 2008 - using heavy insulation for campus buildings (the College is in Maine after all!) - heating buildings with renewable wood pellets and using water-saving toilets The college is also looking into heating buildings with biomass fuel. Carbonfund.org is excited to work with College of the Atlantic in continuing to achieve its carbon neutrality goals! Learn more about the truck stop electrification project here. Carbonfund.org is also a proud member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
Bloomberg’s Jim Efstathiou Jr. reports that the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has prepared a “discussion draft” requiring deeper reductions in greenhouse gas emissions than the levels approved by the House. The draft, which will be released on Wednesday, calls on U.S. companies to reduce their impact 20 percent by the year 2020, rather than 17 percent that was approved by the House. U.S. power plants, factories and refineries may need free government-issued emission permits in order to continue to do business. This topic was hotly debated in the House, and was not addressed in the draft of the Senate bill. The Senate bill would cap greenhouse gas emissions and allow companies to trade permits similar to the cap-and-trade plan approved by the House. According to the New York Times, Senator John Kerry made a special effort to move away from the language of cap-and-trade since it can be confusing to the public and tried to re-frame the conversation in the more concrete concept of reducing pollution. "I don't know what 'cap and trade' means. I don't think the average American does," Kerry told reporters. "This is not a cap-and-trade bill, it's a pollution reduction bill."