Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Climate Change Doubles Hurricanes

A new study links hurricane frequency and climate change, according to the Environmental News Service.
Twice as many Atlantic hurricanes formed each year from 1995 to 2005, on average, than formed during parallel years a century ago finds a new statistical analysis of hurricanes and tropical storms in the north Atlantic. The researchers conclude that warmer sea surface temperatures and altered wind patterns associated with global climate change are responsible for the increase.
Hurricane hunters flew into and around the eye of Hurricane Katrina. August 28, 2005. (Photo courtesy NOAA) The study, by Greg Holland of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, NCAR, and Peter Webster of Georgia Institute of Technology, is published online today by the Royal Society of London.
"These numbers are a strong indication that climate change is a major factor in the increasing number of Atlantic hurricanes," says Holland.
For the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season, NOAA scientists predict 13 to 17 named storms, with seven to 10 becoming hurricanes, of which three to five could become major hurricanes of Category 3 strength or higher. An average Atlantic hurricane season brings 11 named storms, with six becoming hurricanes, including two major hurricanes.
The analysis by Holland and Webster identifies three periods since 1900, separated by sharp transitions, during which the average number of hurricanes and tropical storms increased and then remained elevated and relatively steady.
The first period, between 1900 and 1930, saw an average of six Atlantic tropical cyclones each year, of which four were hurricanes and two were tropical storms.
From 1930 to 1940, the annual average increased to 10, consisting of five hurricanes and five tropical storms.
In the final study period, from 1995 to 2005, the average reached 15, of which eight were hurricanes and seven were tropical storms.
This last period has not yet stabilized, which means that the average hurricane season may be even more active in the future.
Holland and Webster say it is not possible at this time to predict the level at which the frequency and intensity of storms will stabilize.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.htm

Monday, July 30, 2007

Only Lake in Texas Threatened

The only real lake in Texas is threatened--not by industry, but by a fast-growing, invasive non-native plant with no local natural enemies. Rock musician Don Henley has joined the fight, according to this article from the New York Times:
Caddo Lake, a mystical preserve of centuries-old mossy cypress breaks, teeming fisheries and waterfowl habitats, is under siege by a fast-spreading, Velcro-like aquatic fern, Salvinia molesta, also known as Giant Salvinia.
In what East Texans here liken to a horror movie, the furry green invader from South America, which is infiltrating lakes in the American South and abroad to growing alarm, is threatening to smother the labyrinthine waterway, the largest natural lake in the South, covering about 35,000 acres and straddling Texas and Louisiana.
“It’s probably the most dire threat that the lake has ever faced, and we certainly have had more than our share of threats,” said Don Henley, the drummer, singer and songwriter of the Eagles, who grew up in nearby Linden, keeps a double-wide trailer on Caddo Lake and has put his celebrity and fortune behind efforts to preserve it.
The United States Geological Survey calls Salvinia molesta one of the world’s most noxious aquatic weeds, with an ability to double in size every two to four days and cover 40 square miles within three months, suffocating all life beneath. The plant is officially banned in the United States, but it is carried from lake to lake by oblivious boaters, to the point where some private lake communities now limit access to boats already there.
“It’s your classic 1950s drive-in-movie-monster plant,” said Jack Canson, director of a local preservation coalition and a former Hollywood scriptwriter who, under the pseudonym Jackson Barr, co-wrote a B-movie plant thriller, “Seedpeople,” released in 1992.
On Tuesday, Mr. Canson and six local waterway and community officials gathered around a table here to trade sightings of the weed and plan how to spend $240,000 appropriated by the Texas Legislature. “I started to put down yellow markers,” said Robert Speight, president of the lake association, showing a map stuck with yellow pins. But he said he gave up: “I ran out of yellow.”
With most of the growth spreading unchecked on the Louisiana side, where Texas residents say the authorities have been preoccupied with Hurricane Katrina recovery, local advocates raised $35,000 for a two-mile net, put up in June, to seal off Caddo Lake’s more contaminated eastern half.
“We just stuck our necks out,” said Paul Fortune, a contractor who has lived his whole life on the lake. “We just did it.” But propagating leaves still float through gaps left open for boats, and are spread by the boats themselves.
In one area of Louisiana, along a thicket of cypresses called the Big Green Brake, the Salvinia has already grown out into the lake as a luminescent green crust over the water. “It’s at the stage where it starts to lose its eerie beauty and starts to look like a real monster,” said Mr. Canson, the prow of his motorboat poking cracks in the matted covering like an icebreaker. Even flamethrowers have failed to kill it, he said. And beetles that devour the plant elsewhere die in the Texas cold.
Now chemical weapons have been thrown into the battle.
Mike Turner, a burly boat mechanic who calls himself part of the “Caddo Navy,” has set aside his business to go out daily in his small boat for $25 an hour to spray Salvinia infestations with a government-approved herbicide mixture of diquat and glyphosate and surfactants to make it stick to the leaves.
“It gets in the water hyacinth and it hides, like it’s a thinking animal,” said Mr. Turner, removing the surgical mask that protects him from the chemicals.
“I’m finding stuff that was not there two days ago,” he said, mopping his brow in the rising morning heat. He said he felt the task was hopeless at first and considered moving but changed his mind. When he was born 40 years ago, he said, his parents dipped his feet in the lake, and he did the same 12 years ago with his newborn daughter, Patte.
“I’m trying to preserve this for her and her grandchildren,” Mr. Turner said. “Who we are won’t mean a lot a hundred years from now; it’s what we leave behind.”
Ken Shaw, chairman of the Cypress Valley Navigation District and a retired paper executive with a home and boat on Caddo Lake, said that no matter what, he too was there to stay. “There’s nowhere else I’d rather be,” Mr. Shaw said. “If Salvinia takes over, so be it.”
There is a lot to preserve, historians say. The only natural lake in Texas, perhaps augmented by a blockage of the Red River in the late 1700s or early 1800s, was home to the Caddo Indians said to have given Texas its name — tejas was their word for friend. The lake was once part of a navigation system that carried steamboats up the Mississippi River from New Orleans and along the Red River as far inland as Jefferson, Tex. The difficult landing here may have given Uncertain its name. A replica paddle-wheeler, the Graceful Ghost, now chuffs through the sloughs carrying tourists.
After Texas was founded in 1836, the lake became an outlaw haven so violent that two groups of warring vigilantes — the Regulators and the Moderators — fought each other to establish order, as chronicled in “Caddo Was...,” a published account by Fred Dahmer, a native of Uncertain, who died in 2001. A pearling business from the abundant mussels flourished here, and in defiance of county dry laws “beer boats” slaked local thirsts.
Lady Bird Johnson was born in nearby Karnack where her father, Thomas Jefferson Taylor, ran a general store. And Howard Hughes Sr. tested his revolutionary rotary oil drilling bits on platforms in Caddo Lake.
The lake has long been called one of Texas’s best-kept secrets for its mirrorlike reflections of moss-draped cypresses along 88 miles of marked boat “roads,” bald eagle sightings, alligator haunts and prize fishing: a 500-pound bony fish called an alligator gar was once netted here and another, not much smaller, was caught on a rod and reel. Y. A. Tittle, the former star quarterback, keeps a lake house here with a cabin on the dock, Mr. Fortune said, where he can pull up a trap door and fish from inside.
Well before the Salvinia threat, Mr. Henley, having underwritten an effort to protect historic Walden Pond in Massachusetts, came home to Caddo Lake in the early 1990s to fight plans to dredge a transport canal that he called ruinous. On that victory, he and a lawyer-friend from Aspen, Dwight K. Shellman Jr., founded the Caddo Lake Institute in 1993. They were crucial in getting most of an 8,500-acre decommissioned Army ammunition plant turned over to the federal
Fish and Wildlife Service for a Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge in 2004, although decontamination work at the site is continuing.
Some local businessmen who had pressed for an industrial park instead were further outraged when the Caddo Lake Institute formed a coalition in 2001 with other local groups concerned about protecting the lake under guidelines of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, a conservation treaty signed in 1972 in Iran. Mr. Henley was denounced as a
United Nations tool — “kooky stuff,” he called it — but the discovery of Salvinia in Caddo Lake last year overshadowed everything else.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. --including a Texas chapter. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.htm

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Seattle Climate Action Day

Tell your Washington friends to come out for Climate Action day on August 7 at noon at the Washington State Trade and Convention Center. If you want to participate in the rally, show up at the convention center at around 11:45 am. Bring signs, friends, and the kids.
There will be a full lineup of speakers -- high school and college leaders, faith leaders, and climate activists -- to let you know more about the issue and explain how you can help. There will be a hospitality suite on-site to provide you with facts, tools and fun things for kids. This is a safe and legal activity for kids and adults. These kinds of events attract a lot of media attention and helps push our public officials in the right direction!Be part of the solution: demand the strongest climate protection standards for Washington State and for our future.
Want more? 9 AM-5 PM -- You can sit in on the Governor's Climate Advisory Team's meeting, where they'll discuss priority recommendations for WA to reduce carbon emissions.
8 AM-5 PM -- Climate Action Community Room: we will provide info for the public on our Cool State clean energy solutions that will help bring WA to an 80% carbon reduction by 2050. We'll collect your written, video, and photo comments here! Learn how to a letter to your local paper. Enjoy tasty snacks!
4 PM--Public Comment Period: Opportunity to give oral testimony to the Climate Advisory Team. Time is limited, but filling the room with people wearing our "clean energy supporter" badges will set the tone for the CAT members!
For more information or to let us know how you are able to participate, email Jessica Eagle at the Sierra Club.
For more informationSierra Club, Cascade ChapterEnvironment WashingtonNW Energy Coalition
Click here for directions to the Seattle Convention Center or take the bus! Use Metro's Trip Planner to determine the best route by public transit.
The Sierra Club Cascade Chapter's Cool State Campaign is working to ensure that Washington commits to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. By making smart energy and transportation choices, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase mobility choices, save money for people and for government, reduce air and water pollution, and improve the health of our citizens and our communities. In doing this, we will create the foundation for a more prosperous, humane and equitable Washington. The Sierra Club's Cool State Campaign focuses on action by individuals, businesses and government at all levels. We encourage cities to sign and implement the Mayor's Climate Protection Initiative. We expect our Governor and Legislature to commit to firm greenhouse gas reduction targets and specific actions. And we are working to reform regional transportation policy to shift from the failed auto-centric policies of the past to proven strategies that provide clean affordable mobility to all citizens.
Presented by the Sierra Club *** Environment Washington *** NW Energy Coalition
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.htm

Friday, July 27, 2007

Are you a Carbon-Conscious Consumer?

Are you a Carbon Conscious Consumer? The Center for a New American Dream wants to make it easy for you to become one. Follow this link to learn more and take the pledge. Don't be intimidated--this month's pledge involves buying one pound of local food per week. In a season of farmer's markets, that's easy. As an added incentive, each month prizes will be awarded.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.htm

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Green Jobs

According to an article in Newsweek, eco-friendly careers are plentiful for recent college grads. Read an excerpt below:
July 26, 2007 - Kevin Dudney, 24, has been interested in the environment since his days as a Boy Scout growing up in Knoxville, Tenn. Four years in the smog of Houston, attending Rice University, convinced him that he wanted to work in the field of clean energy. So just before graduating from Duke University with a master's in environmental management in the spring, he accepted a job with California Public Utilities, where he'll help the state find clean energy sources for its electrical power. "I want to help society figure out what is the best way that we can continue to meet our energy needs but do it in a way that's better for human health and for the health of the planet," he says.
Graduates of the class of 2007 are finding the job market is receptive to those who want to do good by the environment. As public awareness of global warming grows, companies are scrambling to put in place greener practices, to present themselves as more eco-friendly and to develop products and services to fill a new demand for all things green. The phenomenon is creating jobs in fields like urban planning, carbon trading, green building and environmental consulting. "The environmental job market is the strongest that it's been in many years," says Kevin Doyle, president of the Boston-based consulting company Green Economy Inc. and coauthor of "The ECO Guide to Careers That Make a Difference." The labor market for recent grads is strong overall. "The biggest factor is that the baby boomers are retiring," says John Esson, director of the Baltimore-based Environmental Careers Center. But green jobs are growing especially quickly—at double-digit rates in some specialties, like consulting. The fastest-growing professions, according to Doyle's analysis of recent U.S. Department of Labor figures, include environmental engineers, hydrologists, environmental-health scientists and urban and regional planners.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.htm

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Free Movie

Free copies of "Green: The New Red, White and Blue" are available for showing by congregations while supplies last. Apply to receive a free DVD while supplies last through the national office of Interfaith Power and Light.

Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.htm

Monday, July 23, 2007

States Take Climate Matters Into Their Own Hands

At the annual National Governor's Association meeting, Governors discussed states taking action on climate change, according to a Washington Post article excerpted below:
States should develop creative approaches to climate change, just as they have with challenges such as health care, despite their different economic interests, governors said Saturday.
"No individual state is going to solve the climate change problem, but we can do our part," Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said. "In the absence of national or international consensus or progress, we have the opportunity to show the way."

Talks on state-level climate policy were planned for the annual National Governors Association meeting this weekend at a resort on Lake Michigan, where receding water levels have touched off debate over the effects of global warming on the Great Lakes.
Stephen Johnson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the European Union's environmental affairs counselor joined the discussion. More than a dozen states are asking the EPA for greater authority to regulate greenhouse gases, particularly automobile exhaust emissions.
"With the states taking action, even if you don't have 100 percent of America, you can have 40 or 50 percent or more, and that's a good start," Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell said. "We can't just wait around for the federal government."

Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.htm

Movie Aims to Put a Face on Global Warming

The film Arctic Tale aims to put a face on global warming. Read about it in this excerpt of a New York Times article:

THERE is something unnerving about watching a polar bear stalk across floating sea ice high in the Arctic and doing so from the frigid waters directly beneath the bear, the world’s largest four-legged predator.
Overhead, through ice so thin that it is transparent, plate-size paws set down, one after the other, as the half-ton animal pursues its prey.
Gripping moments like this abound in
“Arctic Tale,” a new film exploring challenges facing polar bears and walruses, two familiar denizens of the icy, but warming, seas at the top of the world. But “Arctic Tale” is not a typical addition to a lengthening line of somber documentaries on dangerous or endangered wildlife.
Instead, Adam Ravetch and Sarah Robertson, a husband and wife who have spent the better part of two decades filming the Arctic’s hulking, reclusive and sometimes deadly mammals for television nature shows, sifted through more than 800 hours of their own footage and that of other filmmakers to assemble a fictional, family-friendly coming-of-age tale.
The film follows this unorthodox gambit to tell of the entwined lives and travails of two composite characters, Nanu, a young bear, and Seela, a walrus. Their stories are related, fable style, by
Queen Latifah, and include scenes ranging from the wrenching, when a bear cub falters and fades in a relentless blizzard, to the comic, when a heap of basking walruses erupt into a flatulent chorus after bingeing on clams. (An adult can eat 4,000 a day.)
“Arctic Tale” is clearly aimed at the same audiences that flocked in unexpected numbers to
“An Inconvenient Truth,” which chronicled Al Gore’s climate campaign, and “March of the Penguins,” which followed the life cycle of rugged inhabitants from the other frozen end of the world. But Adam Leipzig, the president of National Geographic Films, which produced the film, said the project was conceived two years ago, before either documentary became a hit. The idea, he said, was to make a wildlife film “that really holds up as a movie.” (Paramount Classics will release the film on Friday in New York and Los Angeles, and nationwide in mid-August.)

Visit the movie website to sign up for a free screening in your area late July-early August.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.htm

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Earth On Stone on Earth

If you going to be in the D.C. area, check out this very cool installation, an exhibit of planted sculpture - in part to elicit the spiritual nature of environment, and part diagrammatic interpretations of green roofs. The exhibit includes works by writers buried in Golden Gate Recreation Area and Prospect Park, and a discussion on social environmental action with a variety of academic, spiritual and community leaders, including Rabbi Warren Stone, and Pastor Marvin Tollefson, whose Christ Lutheran congregation hosts monthly discussions coordinated by Greater Washington DC Interfaith Power and Light.
AUGUST 5-30, 2007 916 G St NW, Washington DC 20001

More information can be found at http://www.earthonstone.org/and exhibit photos and film will be online on August 5th.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.htm

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Eco-Humor from The Onion

The Onion includes an article called "New Eco-Friendly Packaging Triggers Boom In Guilt-Free Littering." Check out this except:
ROCKFORD, IL—Nick Sundin used to be neurotic about littering. The 37-year-old pediatrician admits he kept trash bags in his car, and would even pick up and throw away garbage he found on the street. Since boyhood, Sundin said, he was keenly attuned to the environmental degradation littering caused, an attitude triggered by the famous Keep America Beautiful "Crying Indian" public service announcement he saw on television as a young man.

Not anymore.
"These 'eco' products are amazing—they've totally changed my life," Sundin said. "Now, I just toss my used Seventh Generation–brand paper plates out the car window, knowing they'll soon be absorbed into the earth."
The growing "green" trend in product packaging, which emphasizes the use of recycled, biodegradable post-consumer paper-based materials and relies less on petroleum-derived polymers like styrofoam, has unleashed a spontaneous trashing of sidewalks, roadsides, and pristine wilderness by gratified consumers. Though some environmentalists and scientists were caught off guard by the movement, experts say it is here to stay.
"The stigma attached to littering is at long last being put to rest," industry analyst Tom Schneider said. "As long as manufacturers are packaging their goods in unbleached paper and biodegradable, cornstarch-based plastics, more and more consumers will discard their refuse wherever they please, knowing it will safely decompose within 10 to 20 years. Call it the 'New Compost.'"

Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.htm

Friday, July 20, 2007

Harry Potter Goes Green

It seems everyone is going green these days, including the world's favorite young wizard. When the waiting masses finally get their hands on the final installment of Harry Potter at midnight, likely it will be printed on eco-friendly paper, according to environmentalleader.com:
The English-language editions of the latest book result in a savings of 197,685 trees (an area equivalent to 2.5 times the size of New York’s Central Park) and 7.9 million kilograms of greenhouse gases (equivalent to taking 1,577 cars off the road).
“The world of publishing may never see the likes of Harry Potter again, but that doesn’t discount its importance to readers, to booksellers and to the way publishing has melded its needs with that of the environment,” said Sarah Nelson, Editor in Chief of Publisher’s Weekly. “To think that Potter is the largest print run in history and may have actually helped the planet.”
According to Markets Initiative, the series helped shift 300 publishers around the world to print a growing number of their book titles, including Margaret Atwood’s Blind Assassin on eco-friendly papers. Six new eco-papers were developed specifically for the Potter titles. Thirty-two new Ancient Forest Friendly and eco-friendly papers have also been produced for book publishers in North America, as a result of this shift.
The company said that 84 printers across North America now stock Ancient Forest Friendly or eco-friendly papers for the first time because of Harry Potter’s lead.

Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.htm

Vatican Goes Green

Though red is still the pope's color, the Vatican is going green. Vatican City has announced plans to become the world's first carbon-neutral state, according to the website environmentalleader.com:

The Vatican plans to become the first entirely carbon neutral sovereign state, and it has chosen KlimaFa ecorestoration offsets to achieve this goal. KlimaFa has created a new Vatican Climate Forest in Europe that will initially offset all of the Vatican’s CO2 emissions for this year.
Planktos/KlimaFa has further committed to work with the Vatican and the Pontifical Council of Culture to develop methods to calculate the CO2 emissions of individual Catholic churches and offer ecorestoration options to turn their carbon footprints green.
“The Holy See’s increasingly creative environmental leadership is both insightful and profound,” said
Planktos CEO and KlimaFa managing director, Russ George. “Not only is the Vatican steadily reducing its carbon footprint with energy efficiency and solar power, its choice of new mixed growth forests to offset the balance of its emissions shows a deep commitment to planetary stewardship as well. It eloquently makes the point that ecorestoration is a fitting climate change solution for a culture of life.”
The new Vatican Climate Forest will be created in Hungary’s Bukk National Park under the auspices of the KlimaFa Climate Parks program. Its dimensions will be determined by the Vatican’s 2007 energy use and the success of its current emission reduction efforts.
In June, the Vatican
announced that the roof of the Paul VI , 6,300-seat auditorium will be redone next year, with its cement panels replaced with photovoltaic cells.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.htm

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tap Water for the Environment

The Hartford Courant is running an editorial urging people to drink water from the tap instead of buying bottled tap water (which is often just somebody else's tap water...) Check out this excerpt:
...bottled water only worsens the national thirst for oil. Making the plastic containers requires petroleum; so do shipping and refrigeration.

Bottled water is more costly, too. A recent analysis in The New York Times estimated that drinking eight glasses of city tap water a day would cost 49 cents per year; the price for the same amount of bottled water: $1,400.

Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.htm

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Vermont IPL Prez Speaks Out on Climate Change Legislation

Vermont Interfaith Power and Light's own Sam Swanson has his say in a Burlington Free Press editorial excerpted below:
The development of the climate change legislation, H.520, and the governor's commitment to take administrative action to implement some of the bill's provisions is an important start. But the current impasse -- the passage of H.520 by the Legislature and the subsequent June 6 veto by Gov. Jim Douglas -- leaves too little accomplished and too much undone. Vermont needs effective action now. Vermont Interfaith Power and Light is a statewide organization of faith communities that are working together to tackle the challenge of climate change by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change is a crisis:Its consequences are both global and local, and are potentially catastrophic.Its effects will hurt most those people who can least afford the damage it will cause. Everyone contributes to this crisis, but no one is responsible, which makes it difficult to organize and carry out an effective response.Growing evidence shows that we have limited time to mitigate the human-caused contributions to climate change before the processes become irreversible. This is for us a moral issue. Our faith calls us beyond a concern for ourselves, our state or our nation, to embrace responsibility for all forms of life and the planet that sustains them. We need a Vermont program that will reduce carbon emissions by reducing waste in the use of fossil fuels burned to heat buildings, operate facilities of all kinds, and transport people and goods. Investing in efficiency eliminates the wasteful use of fossil fuels, which produces unnecessary carbon emissions.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Scroll down for links to the national organization and your local chapter.

Anglican Leader Wins Award for Environmental Work

According to an article on the British-based Christiantoday.com, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has received an award for his environmental efforts.
The Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group (PRESAG) acknowledged the Archbishop of Canterbury’s contributions and gave recognition to the work that the Church of England is doing to promote sustainable energy issues to the public and to policy makers.

PRESAG brings together politicians from across the parties and senior industry stakeholders to promote sustainable energy issues in Parliament and the wider political community.
The Church of England is currently promoting a national campaign called Shrinking the Footprint. Spearheading the campaign, Dr Williams has said: “For the Church of the 21st Century, good ecology is not an optional extra but a matter of justice. It is therefore central to what it means to be a Christian.”
For more information on this please visit: http://www.shrinkingthefootprint.cofe.anglican.org/

Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Scroll down for links to the national organization and your local chapter.

Shopping Bag Chic

The New York Times has an article about how Whole Foods is trying to make re-usable grocery bags chic by employing a famous bag designer and announcing limited runs of the bags. Several cities in Northeastern states served by this blog (including Boston, New York, Baltimore and Annapolis) are considering banning plastic grocery bags. Read an excerpt of the story below:

At 8 this morning, 15 Whole Foods stores in the New York area were to start selling $15 cotton bags by Anya Hindmarch, a London designer better known for bags that range to $1,500 and beyond. The bags, which read “I’m not a plastic bag,” are intended to be used and reused for groceries, in place of plastic. Whole Foods is selling 20,000, first come first served, limit three to a customer while supplies last. If offerings of the bag in other cities are any guide, the lines will be long.
A stampede of would-be purchasers in Taiwan in June sent 30 people to the hospital and required the riot police. A similar outpouring in Hong Kong caused no injuries, but the police closed down the shopping mall. “Apparently they are not used to queuing,” Ms. Hindmarch said last week from a hotel in Tokyo, where she had just finished the latest offering of her bag. To avoid more riots, future events in Southeast Asia will take place on the Internet.
What started out as a small effort in London to reduce the number of biodegradable-resistant plastic bags that litter the landscape has become a wildly successful worldwide campaign. With 34 stores around the world and 20 more opening this year, Ms. Hindmarch knows that even if you can’t interest people in a cause on moral or ethical grounds you can reach them by making the cause fashionable.
“To create awareness you have to create scarcity by producing a limited edition,” she said. “I hate the idea of making the environment trendy, but you need to make it cool and then it becomes a habit.”
Even before Ms. Hindmarch’s canvas tote became the talk of London, enough people were talking about plastic shopping bags that they qualified as a cause célèbre. In recent years, governments around the world have considered bans on them, and stores have found new tactics for weaning customers from them.
Made from polyethylene, a petroleum product, the bags may take as long as 500 years to degrade. Meantime they hang from trees, catch on power lines, float on oceans and lakes and clog storm drains, killing birds, fish, turtles and sea mammals unfortunate enough to ingest them or become entangled in them.
Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags a year, recycling less than 1 percent of them, according to the Worldwatch Institute, an environmental research and advocacy group in Washington.
San Francisco is the first American city to ban the nonbiodegradable bags. Later this year, first supermarkets and then large chain pharmacies there will have to offer biodegradable and compostable bags. The drawback is that they are much more expensive than the nonrecyclables.
Antibag bills are being considered in Boston; Baltimore; Annapolis, Md.; Portland, Ore.; and Santa Monica and Oakland, Calif.
New York City is in the early stages. As part of Mayor
Michael R. Bloomberg’s “green” campaign, the city sponsors public service announcements telling people to use cloth bags for grocery shopping and to reuse plastic bags.
City Councilman Michael E. McMahon, the chairman of the council’s sanitation and solid waste management committee, is from Staten Island, where he remembers the bags blowing all over from the Fresh Kills landfill, now closed. His committee is drafting a bill to require stores to take back plastic bags from customers. He hopes that in four or five years, people will be able to recycle them with their glass and paper.

Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Scroll down for links to the national organization and your local chapter.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Green Computing

According to the New York Times, a company is marketing a new super energy-efficient computer. The catch: This P.C. is only available to rent, not to buy. Here is an excerpt of the story:
Subscription-based personal computers are not a new idea — and never popular — but Grégoire Gentil and Alain Rossmann have devised a green twist.
This summer the pair will begin selling a simplified Linux-based PC for $99 and a $12.95 monthly subscription charge. They say that the deal is better than it looks because the 15-watt PC can save up to $10 a month in electricity compared with a standard 200-watt PC.
Their company is Zonbu, and the
Zonbu computer will be sold through its Web site, zonbu.com. The founders said that the PC had received the highest certification possible from the Green Electronics Council, a nonprofit group that has created a product classification standard known as Epeat (for Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool).
The designation is meant to help consumers make educated choices when buying computer-related equipment and encourage electronics makers to build products that are more energy efficient and have a lower impact on the environment.
Zonbu said that it would be the first desktop computer for consumers to receive the gold rating.
The computer is the size of a cigar box and uses a low-power
Intel-compatible microprocessor from VIA Technologies of Taiwan. It comes with four gigabytes of flash memory instead of a disk drive, a spinning mechanical part that uses much of a PC’s power. It also lacks a fan, another big energy user.

Waiting for a Solar Power Breakthrough

The solar-powered revolution may require a breakthrough or two in order to become a reality, according to the New York Times article excerpted below:
Scientists long ago calculated that an hour’s worth of the sunlight bathing the planet held far more energy than humans worldwide could use in a year, and the first practical devices for converting light to electricity were designed more than half a century ago.
Yet research on solar power and methods for storing intermittent energy has long received less spending, both in the United States and in other industrialized countries, than energy options with more political support.
Indeed, there are few major programs looking for ways to drastically reduce the cost of converting sunlight to energy and — of equal if not more importance — of efficiently storing it for when the sun is not shining.
Scientists are hoping to expand the range of sunlight’s wavelengths that can be absorbed, and to cut the amount of energy the cells lose to heat. One goal is to make materials to force photons to ricochet around inside the silicon to give up more of their energy.
For decades, conventional nuclear power and nuclear fusion received dominant shares of government energy-research money. While venture capitalists often support the commercialization of new technologies, basic research money comes almost entirely from the federal government.
These days, a growing amount of government money is headed to the farm-state favorite, biofuels, and to research on burning coal while capturing the resulting carbon dioxide, the main heat-trapping smokestack gas.
In the current fiscal year, the Energy Department plans to spend $159 million on solar research and development. It will spend nearly double, $303 million, on nuclear energy research and development, and nearly triple, $427 million, on coal, as well as $167 million on other fossil fuel research and development.
Raymond L. Orbach, the under secretary of energy for science, said the administration’s challenge was to spread a finite pot of money to all the technologies that will help supply energy without adding to global warming. “No one source of energy that we know of is going to solve it,” Dr. Orbach said. “This is about a portfolio.”
In the battle for money from Washington, solar lobbyists say they are outgunned by their counterparts representing coal, corn and the atom.
“Coal and nuclear count their lobbying budgets in the tens of millions,” said Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “We count ours in the tens of thousands.”
Government spending on energy research has long been shaped by political constituencies. Nuclear power, for example, has enjoyed consistent support from the Senate Energy Committee no matter which party is in power — in large part because Senators Jeff Bingaman and
Pete V. Domenici, the Democratic chairman and the ranking Republican, are both from New Mexico, home to Los Alamos National Laboratory and a branch of the Sandia National Laboratories.

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at http://www.irejn.org/.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Live Earth Pledge

Are you ready to take the Live Earth Pledge? Here is what it says:
To demand that my country join an international treaty within the next 2 years that cuts global warming pollution by 90% in developed countries and by more than half worldwide in time for the next generation to inherit a healthy earth;
To take personal action to help solve the climate crisis by reducing my own CO2 pollution as much as I can and offsetting the rest to become "carbon neutral;"
To fight for a moratorium on the construction of any new generating facility that burns coal without the capacity to safely trap and store the CO2;
To work for a dramatic increase in the energy efficiency of my home, workplace, school, place of worship, and means of transportation;
To fight for laws and policies that expand the use of renewable energy sources and reduce dependence on oil and coal;
To plant new trees and to join with others in preserving and protecting forests; and,
To buy from businesses and support leaders who share my commitment to solving the climate crisis and building a sustainable, just, and prosperous world for the 21st century.
If you are ready to take this pledge, go to http://www.algore.com/pledge/

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at http://www.irejn.org/.

Greener Living Through Online Banking

Everyone seems to be going green these days. Here is a message about greener banking and living through using the internet from my local financial institution.
Take online bill pay, for example: by paying your bills online, you reduce paper waste and help save fuel consumption by the trucks and planes that carry paper checks around the country.
In fact, according to Javelin Strategy & Research, if every American household paid their bills online, it would cut solid waste by 1.45 billion tons and curb greenhouse gas emission by 1.9 tons per year.
Here are a few other simple tips to help keep our planet green:
Inflate your tires. Increase your vehicle's fuel efficiency by ensuring that all your tires are properly inflated.
Turn off the lights. When you leave a room, turn off lights and other energy consuming appliances.
Change your bulbs. Switch to energy efficient fluorescent bulbs that can last up to 10 times longer and use 66% less energy than regular light bulbs.
Monitor your thermostat. Turning it up 3 degrees in the summer and down 3 degrees in the winter could prevent the emission of nearly 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.
Send eCards. Online greeting cards are a fun and environmentally friendly alternative to paper cards.

For more information on things we can all do to help, visit the US Department of Energy's consumer website at http://www.doe.gov/generalinformation.htm.

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at http://www.irejn.org/.

Rewards for Saving Energy in Connecticut

Both CL&P and UI have implemented a program called "SummerSaver Rewards Program" I encourage you to check it out and sign up.This summer, determine your energy future and save money on yourenergy bill.Summer Saver Rewards* is a new summer energy conservation rewardprogram in which you, as a CL&P or UI residential or commercialcustomer, can enroll. The program asks Connecticut residents to reducetheir energy consumption at least 10% this summer compared to lastsummer. If you do reduce your energy consumption by 10, 15 or 20percent compared to the same period in 2006 (weather adjustment factorwill be made), you'll earn a credit on your electric bill equal tothat percentage.** Per Connecticut legislation, this credit will beonly applied to the Billed Generation Charge on your electric bill.To sign up for this program and find further info go to the followingURL:CL&P customers go to: http://www.cl-p.com/clmres/energy/SummerSaverRewards.aspUI customeres go to:http://www.uinet.com/uinet/connect/UINet/Top+Navigator/Your+Home/UI+Products+%26+Services/Summer+Saver+Rewards/
IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

Connecticut School Bus Exhausts Get Cleaner

A notice from Clean Water Action:
Recently the Connecticut General Assembly approved a state budget and budget implementation bill which included $10 million for school bus retrofits. The budget now goes to the governor who is expected to sign it.The funding, spread out over 2 years, will cover the full cost of purchasing and installing pollution control devices for the approximately 3,400 school buses in the state that are able to be retrofit and aren't scheduled to be immediately replaced. Pollution controls will keep exhaust out of the cabin and reduce tailpipe pollution up to 85%.

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at http://www.irejn.org/.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Fossilized Flies offer Clues about Climate Change

An article in Science Daily reports that "Fossilized midges have helped scientists at the University of Liverpool identify two episodes of abrupt climate change that suggest the UK climate is not as stable as previously thought." (According to Wikipedia, Midges collectively are diverse, small, two-winged flies, comprising several families of Nematoceran Diptera.) Here is an excerpt of the article:
The episodes were discovered at a study in Hawes Water in Northern Lancashire, where the team used a unique combination of isotope studies and analysis of fossilized midge heads. Together they indicated where the climate shifts occurred and the temperature of the atmosphere at the time.
The first shift detected occurred around 9,000 years ago and the second around 8,000 years ago. Evidence suggests that these shifts were due to changes in the Gulf Stream, which normally keeps the UK climate warm and wet.
During each shift the North West climate cooled with an average summer temperature fall of 1.6 degrees -- approximately three times the amount of temperature change currently attributed to global warming.
Scientists found that the atmosphere cooled rapidly and cold periods lasted up to 50 years for one event and 150 years for the other. The detection of these events will allow experts to understand more clearly what can happen when the climate system is disturbed.
Professor Jim Marshall, from the University's Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, explains: "At Hawes Water mud has been deposited continuously without any gaps, which allows us to measure an accurate timeline of events. We have monitored the modern environment of the lake for the past eight years and this has shown us how to read the past climate record from the ancient mud in the lake.
"Isotope analysis helped us identify the episodes of climate change. We then used fossilized heads of non-biting midges, which are preserved in every spoonful of mud. They tell us the temperature at the time the mud was deposited. We compare the population of midge heads in each sediment sample with the population of midges in Scandinavian lakes, which span a wide range of modern day temperatures."
The team found the two abrupt climate changes correlated directly with two episodes of sharp climate deterioration in areas such as Greenland, suggesting that a change in the Gulf Stream had occurred.
Professor Marshall added: "People are worried that the melting of the polar ice caps could result in a slow-down of what we call the 'Atlantic Conveyer'. This is where cold water that sinks in the far north is replaced by warmer water from the tropics in its circulation of the North Atlantic Ocean. A number of studies suggest that the conveyer may be unstable and may be able to slow down or switch off completely, making our climate suddenly colder. Our study provides evidence that the two climate shifts we detected were directly linked to a slow-down in the conveyer."
Scientists believe that this new data will provided a unique test for the global climate computer models that are being used to simulate future climate change.

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at http://www.irejn.org/.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Bullish on Carbon

In London, the carbon trading market is exploding, according to a New York Times article excerpted here:
Carbon could become “one of the fasting-growing markets ever, with volumes comparable to credit derivatives inside of a decade,” said Chris Leeds, 38, who is the head of emissions trading at Merrill Lynch here and who plans to expand his team to five traders from two by the end of the year.
Investment banks like
Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have rapidly expanded their carbon businesses. Scattered among the hedge funds and private equity funds in the Mayfair district of London are recently arrived niche investment banks that generate one of the main currencies of this emerging sector: carbon emissions reductions.
The emergence of carbon finance in London — not only trading carbon allowances but investments in projects that help generate additional credits — is largely the result of a decision by European governments to start limiting the amounts that industries emit.
Factories that pollute too much are required to buy more allowances; those that become more efficient can sell allowances they no longer need. The system, started in 2005, is part of the terms of the Kyoto Protocol and bears the imprimatur of the
United Nations. Even so, doubts remain as to whether carbon finance can deliver tangible emissions reductions, let alone the vast economic transformation needed to deal with climate change.
For now, green-minded graduates and an eclectic range of professionals from banks, consulting companies and aid organizations are pushing to join the new sector.
“We don’t have to advertise,” said Mark Woodall, 45, chief executive of Climate Change Capital, an investment company based in an elegant 18th-century townhouse in the heart of Mayfair. ”People feel quite good about working in an organization like this.”
Mr. Woodall has 120 employees with an average age around 30 and more than 10 full-time employees in China. He expects to hire 80 people in the next two years.
A former British Army officer, he started his first company 15 years ago, cleaning up waste and chemical spills.
The industry has not avoided criticism. One reason is that European governments handed out too many free allowances in preparing for the start of the program, rendering the system less effective than was hoped. The overallocation fueled volatility, and some traders reaped larger-than-expected profits.
Controversy has also dogged some projects promoted by the financiers to generate new credits.
But over all, prospects for the industry are good, especially if the United States joins the Europeans in establishing a trading system, said Imtiaz Ahmad, 34, senior carbon trader for Morgan Stanley in London. Mr. Ahmad has already lured a
European Union environment official and a BP employee to join his three-member trading team, and he plans to hire more.
Human activity creates some 38 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year, and governments regulate only a fraction of that. But if more governments decide to cut billions more tons of emissions, as leaders of top industrial nations discussed recently in Germany, and if the existing system in Europe is enlarged to cover transportation, there will be many more credits available — and a lot more finance and trading.

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at http://www.irejn.org/.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Live Earth to Reach 2 Billion

Get ready to rock, world. Live Earth is coming tomorrow to a stadium, TV or house party near you. Read about it in the Kansas City Star (article below.)
Live Earth is ambitious by any standard: eight concerts featuring the biggest names in music, playing for a 24-hour period across the globe, all for the cause of global warming.
But like its template — 2006’s Live 8, the global concert devoted to poverty in Africa — the mission of Live Earth is somewhat amorphous. Its aim is to “trigger a global movement to solve the climate crisis.”
Whatever Live Earth’s accomplishment Saturday, it will be difficult to measure. Former Vice President Al Gore, who partnered with Kevin Wall in founding Live Earth, believes the world needs to rise up as one giant vox populi to influence “a new political reality.”
“The tipping point in the political system will come when the majority of the people are armed with enough knowledge about the crisis and its solutions that they make this cause their own,” Gore said. “Then, you will see the entire political system shift dramatically.”
Wall, an Emmy-winning concert producer who produced Live 8, hopes Live Earth will change attitudes about global warming and spark a larger movement.
“This concert is not the solution,” Wall says. “Maybe we can make the noise, maybe we can be the town crier.”
Live Earth will send proceeds to the Alliance for Climate Protection, a nonprofit organization chaired by Gore. Tickets for the U.S. concert range from $83 to $348.
Wall was originally inspired to put on Live Earth after seeing “An Inconvenient Truth,” the Oscar-winning documentary on Gore’s global-warming slideshow.
“The question I kept asking myself is, ‘What can I do?’ ” Wall says.
Concerts are scheduled for Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.; London; Johannesburg, South Africa; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Shanghai, China; Tokyo; Sydney, Australia; and Hamburg, Germany. A band of scientists also will perform in Antarctica, stretching Live Earth across seven continents.
More than 150 artists will perform, including Madonna, the Police, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Alicia Keys. Sixty short films and 30 public service announcements have been produced, which will be broadcast between performances.
Also planned are more than 6,000 parties in 119 countries, ranging from home viewings to museum festivals. The concerts will be broadcast on TV and the Internet.
Part of the thrust of Live Earth is to communicate what consumers can do to minimize their impact on the environment.
“The problem with it is that it’s a very complicated issue,” Wall says. “When you think about yourself recycling a piece of paper, how does that connect to an iceberg in the North Pole?”
Wall and Gore also have taken measures to maintain the concert’s green integrity by enlisting the support of the U.S. Green Building Council and John Picard, a former member of President Clinton’s Green White House task force. Live Earth is intended to be an eco-friendly event with power supplied from renewable energy sources and ground travel from hybrid or high-efficiency vehicles where possible.
“This is going to be the greenest event of its kind, ever,” Gore says. “The carbon offsets and the innovative practices that are being used to make this a green event, I think will set the standard for years to come.”

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at http://www.irejn.org/.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Free Movie


Paramount Classics and National Geographic Filmsinvite you to Free ADVANCE SCREENINGS in theaters in the U.S. and Canada Sign up for a free screening near you -- http://www.arctictalemovie.com/(On the home page, click on "Go to a Free Screening")
Connecticut Screenings include 7/25 at Buckland Hills, 8/4 in New Haven and 8/8 in Plainville.
A terrific film for community, religious, environmental and youth organizations. Share this invitation with family, friends and colleagues.ARCTIC TALE opens to the public in the U.S. and Canada late July and August.
Children will be mesmerized by the animal footage, and adults will glory in the landscapes and respond to the sobering reminders of climate change. -- Hollywood ReporterNational Geographic Films, who brought you MARCH OF THE PENGUINS, and Paramount Classics who brought you AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, now present ARCTIC TALE, an epic live action / wild-life adventure film that explores the vast world of the Great North and the threat it now faces from climate change.The film follows the walrus, Seela, and the polar bear, Nanu, on their journey from birth to parenthood in the frozen Arctic wilderness. As the planet warms, the Arctic is changing -- slowly disrupting the ancient rhythms of life that the walrus and polar bear rely on to survive. Perfect for all ages, ARCTIC TALE showcases spectacular footage that took years to capture and is being released at a time when the world is deeply concerned about the impact global warming is having on many threatened species, especially polar bears. Queen Latifah is the film's storyteller. Rated G. 83 minutes. http://www.arctictalemovie.com/Group Sales: Jackie Papier - 866-397-6339 (jackie_papier@paramount.com)

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at http://www.irejn.org/.

Chief Sustainability Officer

An increasing number of companies are hiring Chief Sustainability Officers to up their green credibility, according to an article in the New York Times excerpted below:

The new environmental chiefs are helping companies profit from the push to go green.
“Environmental vice presidents usually spend company money, but this new breed is helping companies make money,” said Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. The upshot, said Geoffrey Heal, a business professor at the Columbia Business School, is that “what started out as a compliance job has evolved into one that guards the value of the brand.”
The titles vary, mixing and matching “chief” and “vice president,” “sustainability” and “environmental,” making it impossible to track how many people fill the role. But whatever they are called, the new environmental chiefs — many of them named in the last two years — wield extraordinary power.
They are exploring partnerships with vendors and customers to create green products — and they have the power to close the deal. They are also getting a vote — often, the deciding vote — on product research and advertising campaigns.
Since he became
Dow Chemical’s first chief sustainability officer in March, David E. Kepler has been talking to Dow’s technology, manufacturing and finance people about alternative fuels and green products. “We usually agree,” Mr. Kepler said. “But if a critical environmental issue is in dispute, I’ll prevail.”
Linda J. Fisher, the chief sustainability officer at
DuPont, scuttled the purchase of a company that was not in a “sustainable” business. “We’re building sustainability into the acquisition criteria,” she said.
And when two business chiefs at
General Electric blanched at the cost of developing green products, Jeffrey R. Immelt, G.E.’s chairman, gave Lorraine Bolsinger, vice president of G.E.’s Ecomagination business, the research money. “I have an open door to get projects funded,” she said.
The evolution was probably inevitable. Corporations are facing demands from all quarters to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and to buy and produce green products. So, many chief executives are urging their managers to “figure out what products they should sell in a warming world,” said Jonathan Lash, president of the World Resources Institute.

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at http://www.irejn.org/.

Will Bamboo Save the Earth?

An article in the New York Times covers the oft-praised virtues of bamboo and tells of a new way of overcoming the problems with propagating it. Here is an excerpt:
Bamboo is a workhorse at sequestering carbon dioxide and pumping out oxygen. It is a tough plant that manufactures its own antibacterial compounds and can thrive without pesticides. And its porous fibers make a cloth that breathes and is as soft as silk. In fact, there is such a stampede of fabric designers to China and Japan, where it is farmed and processed — no such industry exists in the United States — that in its May issue, National Geographic predicted that “this upstart fabric may someday compete with King Cotton.”
Yet as the world clamors for more, bamboo is in short supply. A plant that generally flowers only every 60 to 120 years and then dies is hard to propagate from seed. And growing it by dividing existing plants is notoriously difficult.
So when Jackie Heinricher and Randy Burr figured out how to make bamboo in test tubes — selling their first 2,000 plants in 2004 to local garden centers in the Skagit Valley in Washington — they made waves in the world of horticulture.
“It’s funny, because bamboo has this reputation for taking over the universe, and yet it’s the hardest plant to produce,” Ms. Heinricher, a biologist, said one afternoon in early June at the production center for her company, Boo-Shoot Gardens, here in Mount Vernon, a town about two hours north of Seattle.
Ms. Heinricher, who grew up with bamboo — her father tended golden bamboos all around their house in Olympia, Wash. — first tried to propagate the plant in the late 1990’s in a little greenhouse at her home in nearby Anacortes, where she lives with her husband, Guy Thornburgh, a marine biologist, and where she founded Boo-Shoot Gardens in 1998.

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at http://www.irejn.org/.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Connecticut Shortchanging Environment

According to a Hartford Courant article excerpted below, the state of Connecticut is not meeting its environmental goals.
Connecticut is failing to meet its own goals for cleaning up the environment and needs an infusion of money and enthusiasm, and a substantial commitment to control sprawling development, according to a state report.The state should redouble efforts to clean the air, curb water pollution, conserve farms and forest land, and increase recycling and energy efficiency, the state Council on Environmental Quality says in its 2006 annual report, out this week."I think we've all just sort of turned our eyes away from these environmental goals," Thomas Harrison, chairman of the council, said Friday. "We've all maybe gotten a little complacent."
The council's report comes on the heels of two separate accountings that paint a sobering picture of the future of Long Island Sound. One, a federal assessment of estuaries around the nation, says the Sound is in poor condition, with too many contaminants in its fish and its sediments, and too little life on the bottom.The other report, from the Long Island Sound Study, argues that despite progress on many fronts, the state will have to spend billions to clean up the Sound. The report urges the state to adopt more sustainable development to better preserve open space and curb polluted runoff. Despite progress on environmental issues in the past, something shifted over the past two years, said Harrison, of the environmental quality council. "Last year there was a bit of a stall, no gain and no loss. This year's report [is] kind of disturbing to us."

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at http://www.irejn.org/.

Cool Your House With Window Fans

One of Google's featured "wiki-how"s today is this one, which explains how to cool your house with less air-conditioning or none at all. We have been utlizing this method at home and have managed to avoid using air conditioning on some days when the mercury rises above 90 degrees F. Our goal is to keep the house at 78 degrees F inside or lower. Dark curtains or drapes help. We usually don't even bother with the fans, we rely on natural breezes.

IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at http://www.irejn.org/.