Archive for November, 2008

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving.  Here are a few stories to look over in the midst of today’s shopping craziness.  A few of these are from yesterday, but you may have missed them with all the football and food.

A New York Times editorial discusses some of Barack Obama’s possible environmental initiatives, while this one opposes proposed changes to the Clean Air Act, and this story talks about green investment funds.  Meanwhile, the Washington Post lists a few candidates to lead the EPA and the Department of the Interior and describes what lies ahead for these agencies.

The LA Times talks about a Clean Trucks program and an unusual coalition that’s supporting it, while the San Francisco Chronicle explores a new California land-use law to encourage transit-oriented development.

Salmon on the Columbia River will now have 85 fewer sea lions to contend with each year (Seattle Times).

The Western Governors’ Association has some ideas for national energy policy (Associated Press).

Earlier this week, the UN announced that the level of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere broke another record (Associated Press).

And finally, although it was published nearly 2 years ago, this Times-Picayune special section on the endangered Louisiana coast, a series which recently won a National Academies Communication Award, is very much worth the read.

Thanks to all who made Sunday’s fundraiser a success. We attracted more than 60 people and raised more than $800, a portion of which will go to buy CFLs for low-income residents. We also received some good leads on companies willing to take the pledge. (Plus, the Patriots won!)

One of the most important things that came out of the fundraiser was that those in attendance were energized about conservation. If those who came are able to take the pledge and get others to take the pledge, we will be well on our way to making a dent in greenhouse gas emissions.

I was heartened to see such good attendance, and we will try to have another fundraiser sometime in the spring.  Feel free to offer fundraising suggestions in the comments below.

On Dec. 6th – in the midst of the United Nations talks on climate change – is a Global Day of Action. It has been held every year since 2005 and will include rallies held worldwide to send a message to politicians.
The call to action is as follows:

“We demand that world leaders take the urgent and resolute action that is needed to prevent the catastrophic destabilization of global climate, so that the entire world can move as rapidly as possible to a stronger emissions reductions treaty which is both equitable and effective in minimizing dangerous climate change.

We demand that the long-industrialized countries that have emitted most greenhouse gases currently in the atmosphere take responsibility for climate change mitigation by immediately reducing their own emissions as well as investing in a clean energy revolution in the developing world. Developed countries must take their fair share of the responsibility to pay for the adaptive measures that have to be taken, especially by low-emitting countries with limited economic resources.

Climate change will hit the poorest first and hardest. All who have the economic means to act, must therefore urgently and decisively do so.”

Find out more about the organization

As much as world leaders need to action, those of us demanding action also need to act ourselves. We need to take personal responsibility for our carbon footprint and the greenhouse gases we all cause. One way to take personal responsibility while the politicians battle it out (basically India, China and the U.S.), is to take the pledge and do as much as you can every day to conserve energy.

Cleaning the coils on your fridge twice a year can help make it more energy-efficient.

Obviously we’re just getting up and running right now, but we should be at full speed very shortly. For the first week from Nov. 23-30, we’ll have blog posting every day or so. Starting Dec. 1, we will be rolling out blogs that you can depend on every weekday.
We will have morning daily links that you can use as one-stop shopping when it comes to keeping up with environmental issues. In the afternoon we will have one of our bloggers post an opinion-based entry on either a slice of life from an environmental viewpoint, an opinion on a hot energy story of the day, or a deeper look at the challenges and rewards of conservation. We’ll also have a daily Did You Know? environmental fact.
I hope you have the energy to keep up with us and understand that we’ll be a little green early on. :-)

Human-based greenhouse gas emissions are increasing 2 percent each year.

Here is an abbreviated version of our daily links.

Time Magazine says President-elect Obama has a lot of work to do to live up to his campaign promises on alternative energy. The Miami Herald says the timing is right for the U.S. to make serious changes to the energy equation. The New York Times has more advice for Obama on energy. The Arizona Republic asks, where will we find land to have solar and wind power plants?
T. Boone Pickens has been blown away by wind energy. Phone chargers waste a lot of electricity, but maybe not for long.
Check back weekday mornings for daily links!

Lights Out, Green In faces a common problem as we aim to launch an organization focused on conservation. How do we get our message out most effectively, but not add to the waste and overproduction that we’re trying to stop?
Well, using our Web site as the best promotion helps – as there’s no waste there. But what about our brochures? Double-sided on recycled paper was our answer, but it’s more costly.
How about if we put up flyers for our fundraiser or have sign-in sheets at the door? Isn’t that counterproductive? Well, we’re using the back side of scrap paper for those things.
It is a constant problem and will be something we deal with as we go forward, but the common theme is less, less, less. And reuse, reuse, reuse. We’ll be trying our best and hopefully leading by example: Do more for your environment by using less.

The way we’re really going to make a difference with the pledge is by getting bloggers and other Web sites to spread the word and promote the pledge.

To that end, we got our first mention from a blogger in advance of Sunday’s fundraiser. RIFuture.org gave us a nice shout-out.

Hey folks, Lights Out, Green In received its first publicity from a newspaper this week, via Johnston SunRise. The article was written in advance of Sunday’s fundraiser.

He began putting together an all-volunteer organization to encourage both people and businesses to conserve energy; as a result, Martinelli formed the nonprofit organization Lights Out, Green In. Martinelli says most people turn on the lights more from routine than necessity, especially during the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. In fact, that is part of the organization’s main goal: having businesses and households promise to turn off their lights between those hours. “That’s sort of a peak time,” said Martinelli. “[That time frame] falls within most people’s lunch hour, so it’s the simplest time to ask people to turn the lights off.”

Read the whole article