The latest research on toxic chemicals in children's car seats was released last week by the non profit Ecology Center, www.healthystuff.org.
Hold on to your hats . . . Nearly three-quarters (73%) of seats tested contained hazardous halogenated flame retardants and over half contained non-halogenated organophosphate flame retardants, some of which are hazardous as well. The study finds the hazardous flame retardant chemicals and alternatives used by companies are poorly regulated, putting consumers at risk, and questions the fire safety benefit of using these chemicals. “This is one more example of a consumer product containing extremely toxic chemicals that expose children. It is a huge concern,” stated Anne Hulick, RN, MS, JD, Coordinator of the Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut.
Best 2014-15 Car Seats:
Worst 2014-15 Car Seats:
Other brands with products tested include: Chicco, Cybex, Dorel Juvenile Group (Eddie Bauer, Safety First), Evenflo, Harmony Juvenile, Orbit Baby, Peg Perego.
HealthyStuff.org is now asking the one of the largest manufacturers of car seats, Graco, to take leadership to disclose and phase out hazardous chemical flame retardant additives. Consumers are encouraged to sign our petition to Graco at HealthyStuff.org.
Since 1996, researchers at the Ecology Center have tested over 17,000 consumer products, including over 370 children’s car seats, for chemical hazards. Research is conducted both through the Ecology Center’s HealthyStuff.org in-house lab and collaborating laboratories.
The Ecology Center is a Michigan-based, nonprofit environmental organization working at the local, regional and national levels for a safe and healthy environment where people live, work, and play. Our HealthyStuff.org program is a national leader in testing products and disclosing information on hazardous chemicals in consumer products.
By a vote of 139 to 6, Connecticut’s House of Representatives last night approved Senate Bill 502, An Act Concerning Bicycle Safety, setting the stage for making Connecticut dramatically more bike-friendly. The State Senate approved the bill unanimously on May 7. The next step is for Governor Malloy to sign the bill into law.
Bike Walk Connecticut commends the bipartisan leadership that led to passage of SB 502. The bill’s legislative champions include State Senator Beth Bye (West Hartford) and State Representatives Roland Lemar (New Haven) and Cristin McCarthy Vahey (Fairfield), along with 29 other legislators.
Senate Bill 502 remedies Connecticut’s outdated laws that conflict with best practices for modern, safe bikeway design and active transportation. The bill lets state and municipal transportation professionals design the kinds of bikeways, including two-way bike lanes, buffered bike lanes and cycle tracks, that are used in the most dynamic, prosperous cities in the country and the world.
The bill also improves state laws on bicyclists riding “as far right as practicable” and passing slower moving cyclists and other road users. Current laws are outdated and ambiguous, leading to misunderstandings and highly variable enforcement. The bill includes model language recommended by the League of American Bicyclists and the Uniform Vehicle Code.
Bike lanes and greenways aren’t just good for our health. Since transportation is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gases in Connecticut, active transportation—biking and walking—must be a key piece of our climate action plan. Bikeways are also an extremely cost-efficient way to manage traffic congestion. Bike lanes, sidewalks and greenways cost a fraction of what it costs to build and maintain roads. People tend to bike and walk more when they have the bike lanes, greenways and sidewalks.
“Being bike-friendly isn’t just a ‘nice to have’ thing anymore,” observes Kelly Kennedy, Executive Director of Bike Walk Connecticut. “Being bike-friendly is now essential to competitiveness. In fact, not being bike-friendly is a competitive disadvantage. Connecticut's car-dependent lifestyle is not the lifestyle that millennials or the creative class have in mind. A well-designed active transportation network will help bring millennials and the creative class to Connecticut and keep them here, strengthening our economy.”
The central Connecticut area will soon be home to a
new form of transportation that looks to revolutionize the way Connecticut residents commute. Projected to be finished in early 2015, Connecticut Fastrak will administer a swift ride for those who choose to utilize public transportation to get to their destination of choice. Stretching all the way from Waterbury to Hartford, this contemporary system will make travel in the area more convenient for all, and likely boost local economies with more folks having an opportunity to explore areas of the state they might not have had the chance to previously. CT Fastrak is a form of Transit Oriented Development (TOD), which is described by the CT DOT as, “A strategy to increase economic competitiveness through improved quality of life, reduced traffic congestion, lower transportation costs for households, improved air quality, reduced costs for providing city services, and growth management.”
On July 17th, CT Greenscene was invited to see what progress had been made on the Fastrak. Led by CT DOT’s Mike Sanders, we began in downtown Hartford, passing by many of the stations (Flatbush Ave., Sigourney St.) that are under construction. As you can see from the following photos, they are very modern looking and would appear to be quite comfortable. Having the opportunity to get out and walk around at a few of the stations was incredible. Simply seeing the signs with the map of stops, where the ticketing kiosks would be, and even the benches, helped me envision what the what this project is aiming to look like.
Congressman Jim Himes
CT Fourth District
Chief Financial Officer
Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA)
Energy Committee Chair and Board Member
Connecticut Green Building Council (CTGBC)
Stewart J. Hudson
What: Looking for solutions to the climate crisis? Join us for an exciting discussion of the issues and solutions to carbon pollution that save money and help save the planet, including one of the most important breakthroughs in green building design and operation—a new approach to financing clean energy investments through state and federal green banks.
When: TODAY ~ Tuesday, April 22nd ~ 2:00 pm
Where: Audubon Greenwich Kimberlin Center 613 Riversville Road, Greenwich, CT
Celebrate Earth Day with a Guided Trail Walk after the event!
Refreshments Will Be Served
Who: Moms Clean Air Force
What: Start the new year with a discussion of clean air and the vital importance of EPA action to reduce carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants.
This year Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Moms Clean Air Force will be urging EPA to issue protective standards cutting the carbon pollution from power plants – our nation’s single largest source of climate-disrupting emissions.
When: 2 p.m. ET Wednesday, Jan. 8.
Where: Follow #cleanairmoms, @cleanairmoms or @GinaEPA on Twitter live on January 8 at 2pm ET to join the conversation.
Find more information on this event click here.
by Heather Burns
I first met Peter Fusaro, owner, Preferred Builders at a Fairfield County GreenDrinks event that I organized. As we chatted, I remember thinking that Peter wasn't your typical building guy. Unlike many, he was interested in and committed to figuring out how the built environment relates to creating sustainable and resilient communities.
Like most eco-entrepreneurs, Peter is wired to persist until he is successful. And as a winner of the CT Zero Energy Challenge, he's well on his way. The Zero Energy Challenge is Connecticut's premier competition to build homes that consume almost no energy. Homes that produce energy on-site. Homes with cleaner air. Advanced designs and integrated systems that are changing the way we think about residential construction.
Who: The 18th Annual National Solar Tour with People’s Action for Clean Energy and Sierra Club volunteers.
What: A Canton home with a large solar electric installation and exciting new heating and cooling technologies will be open for free tours. A new 2013 “Solarize Canton” photovoltaic installation features 18 Sunpower 250-watt panels which are leaders in the industry and are more than 20 percent efficient. The Daikin super-efficient air source heating, cooling and humidity-controlling system uses no conventional fuel, greatly reducing energy consumption.
When: Saturday, October 5 - 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m.
Where: To reach the home, turn north onto Lawton Road at the intersection of routes 44 and 177. Travel for .8 mile, bearing left at the fork. Turn right at the top of the hill onto the dirt driveway and follow the parking signs, or park on Lawton Road.
Tags: aquaculture, Canton events, CT events, electric cars, garden, green homes, National Solar Tour, organic, Prius, renewable energy, Tesla
Who: Elm City Cycling and Cold Spring School
What: Free breakfast for all bicyclists & pedestrians!
When: Friday, September 20th. 7:30 – 9:30 a.m.
Where: Pitkin Plaza, Orange Street between Chapel & Court Streets, New Haven, CT.
Who: Bike Walk Connecticut
What: The tour is a fun, family-friendly, leisurely ride that welcomes cyclists of all abilities to explore our capital city's diverse neighborhoods, architectural and cultural gems and parks by bicycle.
Riders may choose to ride a 10-, 25- or 40-mile route. Attractions across each route vary, however, some of the highlights along the way may include: Bushnell Park, the Soldier & Sailors Memorial Arch, the Wadsworth Atheneum, the Mark Twain House, the Butler-McCook House and Gardens, the Colt building, the Bushnell, Riverside Park, Keney Park, Pope Park, The Hartford Circus Fire Memorial, Trinity College, Charter Oak Landing, the Artist Collective, Goodwin Park, Cedar Hill Cemetery, Elizabeth Park and more!
When: Saturday, September 21, 2013. Check-in and late registration: 7-8 a.m. Opening ceremonies: 8:45 a.m. Ride leaves: 9 a.m. Ride returns on your own schedule.
Where: Bushnell Park in Hartford
More information and registration is available online.
9:00 AM-2:30 PM
Yale, Linsley, Chittenden Hall
New Haven, CT
Summit participants will hear from Bill Nesper, Vice President, League of American Bicyclists, about the Bike Friendly America program and from Keynote Speaker Jeff Olson, Principal, Alta Planning & Design, author "The Third Mode: Towards a Green Society."
The summit will include breakout sessions on "Attacking the Application Process for Bike Friendly Communities, Businesses and Universities;" "Complete Streets Engineering - A Key Component to Bike and Walk Friendly Communities;" and "How to Get Your Project Funded." The program will conclude with optional bike or walk tours of New Haven courtesy of Elm City Cycling, followed by a networking and social hour at O'Toole's. Copies of The Third Mode will be available for purchase at the conference. Attendees who join Bike Walk CT will be awarded $10 off of their individual registration, registration ends April 15th.
Members, Full-time Students & Yale Employees:
Early BIrd, until April 15: $25
General Registration: $30
Early Bird: $35
General Registraion: $45
*Continental breakfast and lunch included.
For More Information: http://www.bikewalkct.org/summit-2013.html
First Place winner
Harwinton residents, Paul and Diane Honig, teamed up with builder Wolfworks, Inc., to design and construct a ‘Passive House’ that ensures remarkably low energy demand, something that is aligned with the goals of the Zero Energy Challenge. The Passive House design means that a building takes the greatest advantage of available “gains” while minimizing energy “losses.” The resulting energy balance provides the home with exceptional comfort and health, simplified operation and dramatically lower operating costs.
The home also had the lowest Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index by implementing measures including: windows that captured solar energy, rigorous sealing of all potential sources of air leakage, reduced thermal bridging to help remediate any problems with insulation, the installation of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), and more. These measures earned the top spot for the Honigs and Wolfworks, Inc.
“Investing the extra money up front to build a more sustainable house was worth it,” said Paul Honig, “By taking advantage of incentives and rebates offered through the Residential New Construction program, administered by CL&P, we were able to offset those upfront costs considerably.”
Second Place winner
Peter Fusaro of Preferred Builders Inc. saw the ZEC as a way to bring his idea of a high-performance house to life. After tearing down the original structure at a home in Old Greenwich and recycling its old materials, Fusaro and his team rebuilt the home from the ground up, installing only top-of-the-line energy efficient products.
“I have been in the building industry for more than 25 years and have become more energy efficient in the way I design, build and live every day,” Fusaro said. “After construction was complete, our home in Old Greenwich received six energy and environmental certifications, which I am extremely proud of.”
To achieve these certifications, a number of energy-efficient features were added to the home including high-efficiency tank-less hot water heaters, air conditioning units and a natural gas boiler. The garage features an electric vehicle charging station, and the home is equipped with a sophisticated circuit breaker that connects to the Internet and can show a homeowner just how much energy is being used at any given time. Learn more about “The Performance House” in Old Greenwich by clicking here.
Tags: BPC Green Builders, ct zero energy challenge, energize connecticut, green building ct, greenwich, high-performance house, Inc., LEED certified building ct, new fairfield, performance builders, peter fusaro, Wolfworks, zec, zero energy connecticut
April 4th, 2013
FREE, Registration Required
Central Connecticut State University
New Britain, Connecticut
The CCSU Global Environmental Sustainability Action Coalition invites the public to learn and to teach one another about the actions that we, as human beings, must take to ensure that we live in such a way that we are able to satisfy our needs while ensuring that our children and grandchildren will be able to satisfy their own. The symposium will offer 3 classes, two performances, a panel discussion, a tour, and an optional attendance at the town meeting, as well as opening and closing notes from distinguished professionals in sustainability. This event is FREE: anyone can register online to show up. *Exhibitor tables are still open.
9:45-10:00 AM: Symposium opening and welcome with Dr. Charles Button and Dr. Jack Miller (tentative) at Alumni Hall
10:00-10:45: Transportation, Migration, and Sustainability in Four Worlds Alumni Hall
Dr. John Kelmelis expands upon a possibility raised by the United States National Intelligence Council when they published Global Trends 2030: Alternative World. This work explores four very possible future worlds. Dr. Kelmelis will explain what each of these worlds might mean for our future as well as what strategies we might use to make the most of each circumstance at the local, regional, national, and global levels.
11:00-11:45: Panel Discussion: Electric Cars and Alternative Vehicles Alumni Hall
The president of the New England Electric Auto Association (Dave Oliveria), an environmental writer and speaker (Jim Motavalli), the Senior Associates Autos Editor for Consumer Reports (Eric Evarts), and a natural gas car owner (Joe Booth) all come together in one place to talk about the real value that hybrid, extended hybrid, and electric vehicles hold. This is a special opportunity to discover what users and reviewers genuinely think about these alternative vehicles.
12:00-1:45 (*with second free registration): Water Wars Performance and Lunch Alumni Hall
While you enjoy your lunch, the Sonia Plumb Dance Company will be performing Water Wars. This is an emotionally charged piece of art that exposes the very important and very tenuous relationship that human beings have with one of our primary sources of life: water.
Posted at 03:46 PM in Air Quality, Architecture, Arts, At Home, At Work, Automobiles, Citizen Action, Corporate Social Responsibility, Education, Energy , Environmental Issues, Events, Government, Green Building , Healthcare, Organizations, People, Renewable Energy, Resources, Schools, Transportation | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
Tags: Central Connecticut State University, Connecticut, Connecticut State Universities, Exhibits, Free, Free Green Events, Green Connecticut, Green Events, New Britain CT, Sustainability, Sustainability Events, Town Hall
by Eileen Weber
If it has ever occurred to you that mowing your lawn with a gas mower is polluting the environment, you are not alone. Dan Delventhal, owner of MOWGreen, had that very same thought.
Every time he mowed his own lawn, he considered the fumes adding to the gunk in the air. And once his brother died of an environmentally caused cancer, that was the tipping point. With his brother in mind, he kicked off his new business in 2007, which is focused solely on getting the “gas off the grass.” In fact, this year MOWGreen has reached its one million auto-mile equivalent of saving 32,000 pounds of carbon emissions into the air.
“People don’t realize that using a gas mower is twenty times more polluting to the air than driving a car,” said Delventhal. “I want to change lawn care.”
By Heather Burns
With the summer foliage and associated bioactivity in full swing, being cooped up in an office for 40 hours a week can be difficult for even the most dedicated employee. Personally, I head outside at regular intervals for strolls, and while it’s true that my most creative thinking takes place outdoors, it’s nice to see that my urge isn’t just a personality quirk, but is firmly rooted in science.
Harvard University biologist, Edward O. Wilson and introducer of the biophilia hypothesis concluded, “There is an instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems. That is, we have a natural urge to affiliate with other forms of life.
Bruce Crowle, co-owner of Atria, Inc, a Connecticut-based interiorscape design and maintenance company, has built a successful business on the concept of biophilia, while helping clients to realize the bottom line benefits of bringing nature to work™.
Crowle says, “In the mid eighties I was invited to Washington and had the distinct pleasure of meeting Dr. Bill Wolverton. He had just concluded his studies for NASA that proved tropical plants could be helpful during prolonged space exploration. His research discovered that plants and their roots and the surrounding soil (a plant system) absorbed volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), such as formaldehyde, benzenes, carbon monoxide and others, and returned oxygen to the environment.”
Likewise, a study by Herman Miller reviewed the degree to which direct exposure to natural elements might impact employees. They were able to find significant productivity gains, less absenteeism, less health problems, and a better sense of well-being as reported by the individuals who participated.
In fact, a wide range of industry experts recognizes the health and environmental benefits of incorporating plants into the workplace. The United States Green Building Council includes dozens of varieties of plants as options to improving indoor air quality, and assigns corresponding points toward LEED certification.
A growing trend (pun intended) in the interiorscape industry is green walls. Also known as vertical planting systems, vertical gardens or biowalls, these visually stunning creations produce a supply of fresh air, naturally cooling buildings in the summer and humidifying in the winter.
In 2010, Atria was proud to become the first “Platinum” rated Green Earth—Green Plants® certified interior plantscape business. “The process to gather and submit the data to earn Platinum certification was certainly a team effort,” Crowle says.
But the company’s leadership and ongoing dedication to sustainable business practices – and to promoting green business practices to their clients – is evident in all that they do. Partnerships with local growers and the use of integrative pest management are just two of the many reasons why bringing nature to work with Atria makes good business sense.
Tags: atria inc, biophilia, biophilia hypothesis, biowalls ct, bruce crowle, edward o. wilson, employee productivity, green business ct, Green Earth—Green Plants certified, green walls ct, green workplace, interiorscapes ct, vertical gardens, vertical planting systems
by Dr. Amy Wiesner
Almost 3 months after the earthquake and tsunami that caused devastating damage in Japan, it seems that, in the US, it’s not a major concern anymore. That certainly should not be the case.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the situation at the plant is still serious. Radioactive contamination is still occurring both by being released into the air and with the outflow of water from the four damaged reactors.
According to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, Japan has now double the initial estimate of radioactive fallout and the government is evacuating to areas farther afield. The levels of radiation are nearing those reached in Chernobyl, the world’s largest nuclear disaster before this one. Chernobyl was thought to be more toxic because fires were involved, easily spreading the radioactive materials into the surrounding areas through the air. But the Fukushima disaster is now at severity level 7--the same level as Chernobyl.
Tags: green tea, International Atomic Energy Agency, Japan, Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, nuclear reaction, radiation, radioactive contamination, Tokyo Electric power, tsunami, typhoon season, UC Berkeley Nuclear Engineering Department
Long time Connecticut resident, (and occasional CT Green Scene contributor) Barry Katz, has just published an informative new book: PRACTICAL GREEN REMODELING: Down-to-Earth Solutions for Everyday Homes.
Published by Taunton Press, the book offers a compelling argument for remodeling green, guiding readers through process with over 200 color photographs of green remodeling projects from across the country.
What sets this book apart from the many how-to books on the subject is the author's emphasis on the "what to" and the "why to" of going green at home.
Asked what inspired him to write this book, Katz said, "I wanted not only to show readers what is possible, and often easy, to achieve in terms of creating energy efficient, environmentally friendly, and healthy living environments, but to provide a clear explanation of the complex and interconnected issues that make going green such a compelling choice for a growing number of people around the world."
Tags: Barry Katz eco-friendly homes, energy efficiency, green building, green building ct, green homes, Green remodeling, indoor air quality, indoor environmental quality
Tags: Bay Area, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, biodiesel, clean air, composting, electric buses, greenhouse gas emissions, Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance, ordinance, Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance, recyclables, recycling, San Francisco, San Francisco Department of the Environment, SFRecycling.com, Spare the Air, waste
Tags: Azure Dynamics, CitiBus, diesel, Fairfield University, fuel cell, hybrid bus, hydrogen, IC Bus, Inc., Kentucky Clean Fuels Coalition, Kentucky school district, Navistar, New York Metropolitan Transit Authority, Trek Bicycle Store, University of South Carolina, Wyoming school distrcit
Burning the Future: Dirty Coal From Cradle to Grave on Thursday, October 15th, 7:00 PM, at The Loomis Chaffee School Gilchrist Auditorium, Clark Center4 Batchelder Rd., Windsor, CT 06095. For more information call, 860-255-7663.
by Eileen Weber
A few weeks ago, we had a large maple tree taken down in our backyard. It was diseased and leaned a bit too precariously toward my neighbor’s roof line. Without it, our lawn, which is about the size of a snow shoe, does look a little bigger. And certainly, we have more sun. But I must admit, I miss it. I also have a twinge of guilt about removing a tree.
It’s a well-known fact that trees help keep our air clean. They absorb carbon dioxide and contaminants in the air. They emit clean oxygen for us to breathe. They shade us and keep us cool.
These strong points are not lost on many environmental groups who wish to plant more trees worldwide. The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) launched their Billion Tree Campaign in which they hope to plant seven billion trees by the end of this year. They are well on their way so far with over four billion already planted.
According to a press release from the UNEP, groups around the world have committed themselves to planting more trees. The Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture planted 687 million trees last year. In Turkey, government and non-governmental organizations as well as a number of civilians planted over 300 million trees in 2008.
Just this month, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) reported that Pakistan set a world record by planting 541,176 young mangroves tree. They beat out neighboring India in a friendly competition to reforesting some sadly neglected areas.
Even in work-torn Iraq, there is a government group committed to planting new trees and fresh landscaping to guard against wind storms and desertification. According to a report from the Alsumaria Iraqi Satellite TV Network on July 22nd, the Water Resources Ministry has confirmed the plantings in approximately 500 acres of land in the regions of Babel, Najaf, Kut, Amarah, Anbar and Al-Azim. The plantings are meant to provide “efficient methods to reduce the impact of natural factors and raise of temperature” as well as preserving moisture in the soil.
Tags: Billion Tree Campaign, Casey Trees, clean air, Environment Northeast, Maine Department of Conservation, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, Norwalk Tree Alliance, tree planting, United Nations Environmental Programme, World Wildlife Fund
by Heather Burns-DeMelo
The cleaning products we use in our homes contain pesticides, neurotoxins and other poisons that are giving us cancer, respiratory illness, ADHD and more. Pets and children are particularly sensitive, as their systems are still developing. And after they're finished wreaking havoc on us in our homes, they make their way to our water supply. Did you know that you can't just throw away your laundry detergent because it's considered HAZARDOUS WASTE?!
This news segment had my mouth gaping open.
But low level may hurt cap and trade program
The Boston Globe
March 11, 2009
By Beth Daley, Staff Writer
New figures being released today show the recession helped drive down global warming emissions from Northeast power plants last year to their lowest levels in at least nine years.
Northeast power plant emissions dropped about 9 percent last year from 2007, according to preliminary projections by Point Carbon, a consulting and research firm. The Norway-based company attributed the drop to the economic slowdown, combined with the fact that power plants are burning cleaner natural gas.
The drop in emissions may be good for the environment, but was not seen as reason for celebration. "What does this say about the state of the economy?" said Robert Rio, senior vice president of Associated Industries of Massachusetts "We could get 100 percent below the cap if we shut every business and moved them out of state."
The reduction in emissions came with another drawback: It has the unintended effect of delaying a longer-term and potentially more important effort to reduce greenhouse gases over the next decade.
by Eileen Weber
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced on February 9th that the two state casinos, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, should be smoke-free by October 2011. This comes as good news for fans of fresh air. To casino owners, however, it is a death knell to their revenue base in a bad economy.
Gambling and smoking often go hand in hand. Casino owners fear that gamblers will go to another casino that doesn’t have a smoking ban, even if it means driving a longer distance. As a result, revenue is down and jobs are cut.
But there is little concern for the casinos’ cash base when personal well-being is in the spotlight. In a press release, Blumenthal made the statement that there is a common goal for a “complete ban on smoking because casinos shouldn't be gambling with public health.” He continued by saying, “The casinos are dealing workers and visitors a losing hand on cancer and tobacco addiction."
The ban will take affect later this year in a three-step phase that will end in the fall of 2011. "The casinos must be smoke-free,” said Blumenthal. “The ban must be total, even if the battle is tough. Short-term fixes and gimmicks like ventilation systems and segregated smoking areas simply prolong the problem.”
by Eileen Weber
As part of Fairfield University’s Climate Change Week, a panel of political experts converged at the Barone Campus Center Thursday night. The main topic focused on greenhouse gas emissions and what Connecticut is doing to try to reduce it. The panelists represented the local, state, and national viewpoints on the subject.
Carbon emission is the main greenhouse gas that is affecting the environment. “Global politicians agree that climate change is a problem, but nobody can quite agree on how to go about it or how to gauge it,” said Professor Downie, Director of the Program on the Environment at Fairfield University who moderated the lecture.
To those who scoff at global warming, “The science is indisputable at this point,” said panelist Danielle Rosengarten, Counsel and Legal Assistant to Senator Joseph Lieberman.
She went on to say that Washington’s change in administration was a huge gain for climate change. But to panelist Robert Wall, of Energy Marketing Initiatives at the Rocky Hill-based Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF), climate change is still the “800 pound gorilla” in the room.
A little more than six months ago, the global warming bill for this state was passed. Its ambitious goals are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17% in 2020 and a whopping 80% by 2050. But with mass transit still under-utilized including a Waterbury-Hartford train line still in the planning stages, transportation, and its ensuing carbon emissions, is still an issue.
Tags: carbon emissions, carpooling, climate change, Danielle Rosengarten, David Leonard Downie, Fairfield University, global warming, greenhouse gas emissions, mass transportation, NuRide, Robert Wall, Senator John McKinney
by Heather Burns-DeMelo
About once a year I have to work hard to fight off a hankrin' (yes, I lived in Ohio for 10 years) to make a large purchase. One year it was a new house in the country, last year it was a new Mac and this year, a spankin new Prius.
Much to my dismay, I'm incredibly crafty when it comes to excuses as to why I NEED something, but like Sheryl Crow once said, "the trick is wanting what you have, not having what you want."
Now that I'm discovering the difference between necessity and desire and facing my somewhat tenuous financial circumstances, I must confess that my recent penchant for a hybrid is not being solely fueled by a desire to cut my personal carbon emissions. In fact, as the Editors of E Magazine point out, buying a new fuel-efficient car isn't always the greenest choice.
by Heather Burns-DeMelo
I can't think of a better way to usher in the New Year than to be one of the 500 lucky ducks who will test drive a MINI-E for the next 365 days. And trust me, if I had a garage, OR $850 extra bucks a month OR more cash to upgrade my electric system, I'd do it in a heart beat.
So, those of you living in the NY/NJ metro area who meet the criteria, go for it. And don't forget where you read about it--hopefully it's worth you taking me for a spin!
Thanks to our friends at PACE for keeping us informed...
One of the most important issues concerning climate change is connected to the $34 billion bailout of the auto industry. You would think that giving them that much money should carry some conditions BUT one of most crucial ones is missing and that is to mandate the auto companies drop their lawsuits against three states of the thirteen (which includes Connecticut) who have passed a law (called "the Paveley Law") to adopt standards that would greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks.
So what can little ol' you DO? Thanks to the Law Offices of Matthew Pawa, it's as simple as filling in the blanks...
*NO PAVLEY-NO BAILOUT*!
Dear Congressman BLANK:
Thank you for telling the heads of General Motors, Chrysler and Ford last week that their lawsuits against state greenhouse gas laws are a "serious obstacle" to providing taxpayer loans to their companies. It is
now time to follow through on this statement. As a constituent, I am writing to demand that you */only /*vote "yes" on a Detroit bailout */IF/*the legislation includes a provision making clear that the federal
fuel economy law does not preempt the states' greenhouse gas laws.
I am outraged that Detroit may receive taxpayer money while continuing to push lawsuits against the states. These lawsuits seek to use the federal fuel economy law to strike down state greenhouse gas laws. Sixteen states have adopted or are in the process of adopting the "Pavley regulations," which would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks. Half the nation's population lives in these sixteen states. The Pavley law is a vital step in the fight to reduce the U.S. contribution to global warming. And since GM, Chrysler and Ford have now said repeatedly that rescuing their businesses requires that they significantly improve fuel economy, then under the logic of their own lawsuits in which they argue that fuel economy improvements are the same thing as reductions in greenhouse gases, the Pavley law is good for Detroit and its workers, too.
As your constituent, I am fully expecting you to stand up and fight on global warming. While there are many good reasons to avoid the collapse of a major company at this moment of economic peril, it is unfathomable to me how Congress could fail to grasp this moment by requiring a simple act of good corporate citizenship as a condition of any bailout, i.e., no lawsuits against the states. I am expecting you to vote "NO" on any Detroit bailout that fails to protect our planet by stamping out the GM-Chrysler lawsuits against the states. Any "YES" vote MUST include a "Save Pavley" provision.
Keep reading for who to contact in your area...
Tags: art, cassette tape closet, chernobyl, clean coal, contamination, go green, greg lynn, haute nature humor, Hiroshima, hyperion, Jan Shin, los alamos, nuclear power, Parvez Michel, pollution, psfk, Radiation, reactor, sound wave, sustainable, terrorist, Three Mile Island, union of concerned scientists, usc, vered zaykovsky, zaproot
People in the towns of Milford, Bridgeport, New Haven, Middletown, Montville and Norwalk are breathing easier thanks to a grassroots group, the Toxics Action Center, who stood up and demanded cleaner air when they found out that 97 percent of Connecticut residents were breathing "seriously unhealthy air".
According to an article in the Stratford Star, loop holes in the Clean Air Act allowed thousands of tons of sulfur dioxide to spew into the air. Today, the five plants have decreased their emissions between 72 and 99 percent.
I felt a bit like a little kid before Christmas this week, as I conjured up the idea that a Tesla Roadster would be fun to have at a special event we're having at Windermere on the Lake on November 20th (yes, mark your calendars).
The 100 percent electric sports car goes 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds and over 200 miles on a single charge-which comes from a 220 v plugin.
A two-seater and priced at $100,000, it's well beyond my means, but some people in this area may be able to do the planet a favor and trade in their HUMMMER for one.
Well, I wasn't able to get a Roadster for the event...we're getting TWO...one for display and one to test drive around the Windermere Eco-Village grounds!
So how did I do it? Using social media, networking and groupsites. People from around the U.S. wrote back and gave me connections that I followed until I got an inside connection to Telsa Corporate.
It's amazing how connected we all really are, and what you can turn up if you only ask!
by Eileen Weber
School is in full swing and that means so are all the school buses. They’re big. They’re bulky. They belch exhaust. So, what’s an environmentally-conscious parent to do?
In a press release from the EPA, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (CT DEP) was awarded close to $500,000 for their Clean School Bus project. This initiative specifically targets school buses and the exhaust these buses create. Each year since its inception in 2006, money has been allotted for school districts across the state to retro-fit or to replace their buses as needed to lower diesel emissions.
Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of the EPA’s New England Office, was quoted as saying, “Fleet by fleet, we are helping to provide cleaner air for our children.”
That's great, but what could be better? Electric buses that emit NO fumes, particulate, or carbon! Zfleet is a Connecticut-based company that's developing electric bus technology.
Not surprisingly, exhaust fumes have been cited as a major irritant for asthmatics. In fact, even those who do not have the disease have exhibited asthmatic symptoms from long-term exposure to the fumes. And unfortunately, children are the biggest victims—especially in urban areas where exhaust fumes are at their worst. Major cities like Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford see the worst cases from inner-city kids.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the asthma rate in the U.S. has risen over the past 15 years. They estimate that more than 15 million people suffer from it today. Some of the highest asthma rates in the nation are in the Northeast.
CT DEP plans to use that portion of the grant funded by the EPA to equip school buses with technology meant to better control pollution. The funds will also be used as an incentive for schools that have not already made strides to improve their bus system.
Every little bit counts. Perhaps with a little time and some added patience, there just may be cleaner air for our children yet.
Right out of some high society sci-fi movie, this solar-powered lawn mower, made by Husqvarna, is a home owners' dream! No carbon emissions to feel guilty about, and it's powered by the sun and automatic--so you can sit back and relax as this gadget does the work for you.
That's a good thing, too, since this article from the Associated Press found that: "The air in hundreds (345 to be exact) of U.S. counties is simply too dirty to breathe, the government said Wednesday, ordering a multibillion-dollar expansion of efforts to clean up smog in cities and towns nationwide."
So where can you get one of these magic lawn buddies? Butler Power in CT can help!
Trees are experts at converting the sun into energy, and the people at Solar Botanic Energy Systems have come up with a way to create artificial trees in order to harness the power of the sun and wind. With the use of nanotechnology, the twenty different species of trees that Solar Botanic Energy creates will create energy much the same way that regular trees do. Due to the combination of photovoltaic and thermovoltaic in the nanoleaves, they are able to convert light and heat into energy. Almost all of the light from the sun will be absorbed, except for the green light, and the leaves will also absorb the infrared wave, or radiation, even hours after the sun has set.
To fully integrate all the aspects of a tree, Solar Botanic Energy has also infused the twigs and branches with nano piezo-electric elements. These elements detect the stresses on the twigs and branches whenever the leaves flap in the wind or rain. Every time they flap, the nano piezo-electric elements will produce thousands of picowatts of energy. The stronger the wind, the more energy the tree can produce.
Solar Botanic Energy has decided to start plant their first palm tree in the Middle East. This palm tree should produce 5000 kilowatts hours per year. The company has already begun offering these trees to the government. The lifespan of these trees are about 30 years. Not only does it offer cheaper electricity alternatives, it also offers the same benefits as regular trees from shade to windbreaking and cooling. Solar Botanic Energy offers low installation costs and there is also governmental grants available for the planting of the trees.
Learn more at the Solar Botanic Energy System site.
I was at the park today with my kids when a diesel ice cream truck pulled in. The man, in his fifties, kept the fifteen year old truck spewing smoke as he passed out frozen treats packed with artificial colors and flavors and enough preservatives to outlive the kids who ate them.
I stood by silently, my young ones knowing better than to ask, since for the past four years their mommy claims not to have any money, or rambles on about how unhealthy that ice cream is, convincing them to go to the New Morning to pick up some organic, lactose-free, all natural, frozen desserts.
Then it hit me: this must have been what the first proponents of banning second hand smoke must have felt like. Unsure, insecure, timid. I marched up to the truck and asked if he'd be staying long. "Nope."
"Good, I replied, because we can smell your truck all the way across the park." "If you're so worried about it, why didn't you walk instead of drive here?" he spat back.
Tonight, I'll dream of electric powered ice cream trucks that sell organic, healthy frozen treats on sultry summer days.
Tags: air pollution, air pollution ct, anti idling, carbon dioxide, ct green living, diesel fumes, green house gas emissions, green parenting, green parenting ct, healthy kids snacks, ice cream truck, idling, lactose free ice cream, new morning natural foods, transportation ct, woodbury ct
Action is needed to protect trees in our very own state! We need to stop companies like LAMAR not only littering our landscapes but destroying our trees to achieve their goals. Send letters of support to Blumenthal and please visit www.scenic.org to send a letter to Jodi Rell stating your support of her bill to ban new billboard contracts in CT, including digital billboards.
Article Written By
BY ROBYN ADAMS REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
WATERBURY-- Nancy Voghel grew up on a "little piece of heaven," but she said Friday that the land near her childhood home has been destroyed.
Last year, Lamar Advertising of Hartford got a permit from the state Department of Transportation to trim and remove undesirable growth on state land off Sidney Street to increase the visibility of one of its billboards.
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal filed a lawsuit against the billboard company and Long Hill Tree and Lawn Care Services of East Hartford for cutting down 83 trees that included birch, maple, oak and white pine that were between 85 and 200 years old. Long Hill Tree was hired by Lamar to do the work.
Hal Kilshaw, vice president of governmental relations for Lamar, headquartered in Baton Rouge, La., said the attorney general got it wrong.
"We got permission from the landowner and a permit from the state. We hired Long Hill and met with the state's landscape person, who was on site and agreed to everything that was cut," Kilshaw said in a telephone interview.
Many of the trees that were planted on the land in question were planted by Margaret Casey's grandfather.
"In less than one day, less than an hour, Lamar Advertising came in and changed our lifestyle," said Casey, of 56 Sidney St. "The noise -- we cannot open the windows anymore. We cannot hear the television because of the noise. It is unbearable."
The trees provided a buffer to highway traffic and noise, and soaked up water that spilled down the hilly terrain.
"Last year, I had five feet of water in my basement," said Jerod Voghel, 30, who is Karen Voghel's son. He bought the house that his mother grew up in four years ago; she now lives in Wolcott.
With the open swath of land in the background, Blumenthal and Rep. Selim Noujaim, R-75th District, talked to residents about the lawsuit.
Blumenthal said Lamar "clearly and disgracefully broke the law" by cutting 83 trees that provided a buffer to I-84. The state is suing for unspecified monetary damages to replace the trees.
To protect the public from the “invisible menace” of ozone poisoning this summer, the American Lung Association of New England (ALANE) is calling for more stringent air quality standards. Today, the organization announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines released earlier this spring will not adequately safeguard public health.
Last year, New England recorded 54 days of high ozone levels according to EPA standards. If the recommended tighter standards had been in place, a staggering 98 days would have qualified as unhealthy.
“The public is not being protected adequately by current air standards,” said Jeff Seyler, CEO of ALANE, “The EPA went against its own scientists in setting standards. Current measures fall short of what is necessary to ensure public safety.”
The ALANE recommends that people limit outdoor activity during unhealthy days. Reducing strenuous exercise, or exercising in the early morning or evening, can reduce exposure to ozone. People can sign up for unhealthy air alerts at www.OwnYourAir.org.
But will it work? Will people give up their cars? What do you think?
Via Danbury NewsTimes
THUMBS UP to the progress being made in establishing a commuter bus route between New Fairfield and the Southeast, N.Y., train station. The Connecticut Department of Transportation and the New York Department of Transportation have agreed to share the $300,000 annual subsidy needed to operate the service. It will be operated by Housatonic Area Regional Transit. The goal is to get the buses on the road in October, but first a parking lot for commuters must be developed in New Fairfield. The commuters who buy tickets to use this service will save parking and fuel costs. By funding it, both states will ease traffic congestion on their roads.
"Congress may be in recess, but the
At each district office, supporters are presenting their Congressperson with copies of the 1Sky policy platform, which calls for the U.S to: (1) Conserve 20% of our energy by 2015, creating 5 million new green jobs focused on climate solutions and energy efficiency ; (2) pollution at least 25% below 1990 levels by 2020 and at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050; and (3) impose a moratorium on new coal plants and end fossil fuel dependence through strong standards and incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Dear EarthTalk: I just read an article that said air fresheners contain chemicals that can cause health problems when inhaled. Are scented candles any better?
-- Leanne Chacksfield, Cincinnati, OH
Like most air fresheners, many scented candles contain and release phthalates, potentially harmful chemicals that have been linked to the disruption of hormonal systems and other health problems in people exposed to them. Burning candles can also emit small amounts of acetaldehyde, formaldehyde and naphthalene, organic chemicals that are also potentially harmful and that can leave nasty black soot deposits on floors and other surfaces.
According to Pamela Lundquist of the nonprofit Children’s Health Environmental Coalition (CHEC), this black soot deposit “is primarily made up of elemental carbon, but may also contain phthalates and volatile organic compounds like benzene and toluene, which can cause cancer and neurological damage.”
Imagine turning the key in the ignition and not hearing a sound? Or zipping around town on errands and not emitting ANY carbon! That's what it's like when driving an electric vehicle (EV). GEM (Global Electric Motorcars) are available for sale here in Connecticut for around $8,000 and they plug right into an outlet. If you're signed up for Clean Energy Options, you'll feel great about using this to run around doing errands.
The feel of the interior is similar to a VW beetle, with large windows, a sun roof and lots of light. The gas and break pedals are the same as any other car, but the noise--or lack of--is what I found most amazing.
The GEM I drove tops out at 25 mph, but is a perfect alternative to my other cars when doing errands or traveling short distances. The only hang up...while GEMS are street legal in all 50 states, you can't register them in Connecticut. Go figure. The one I drove was owned by EV proponent, John Papa. His property in New York state allows him to register his vehicle there. "It's great as a second vehicle to use instead of a SUV. The guys at the gas station love it when I drive by," Papa says.
Let's hope the guys who own the automobile industry feel the same way.
Come test drive one for yourself at the March 12th Fairfield County GreenDrinks event at iPark in Norwalk!
Committed to reducing their carbon footprint, bicyclists meet at JoJo’s Coffee Shop at 22 Pratt St. in Hartford on the last Friday between January and March before pedaling to work. And with the bike racks on the front of Hartford buses, they can hop a bus if the chill gets to be too much.
Commissioner Gina McCarthy says, “What could be crazier than a New Englander riding their bike to work in the cold, winter months? Not much. For an exhilarating, healthy adventure, join other bicyclists who share your enthusiasm, and have a great time meeting for coffee after your ride. I’ll meet up with you again in the spring.”
The Capitol Region Ice-Bike to Work program is sponsored by Hartford-based law firm Murtha Cullina LLP, and encourages commuters to leave their cars at home and cycle to work to help to improve air quality and reduce traffic congestion. Commuters save money on fuel and enjoy health benefits.
I say HAT'S OFF to those committed, just like this guy I saw pedaling around my neighborhood last summer.
Starting in 2009, every new car sold in Connecticut will feature a sticker on the window that lets consumers know how much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases a particular car releases into the atmosphere.
According to the article in The Town Times, "Under the new law, a label must be affixed to vehicles detailing the vehicle's greenhouse gas score, its score as compared to others of the same make and year, and the average score for vehicles within the same class. This will begin October 1, 2007.
The Environmental Protection Agency rates cars on a scale of zero to 10, where a score of 10 represents the lowest amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted. The score is determined by the vehicle's estimated fuel economy and its fuel type." By 2009, no cars will be able to be sold without the sticker.
To fund the program, Connecticut is adding $5 to the price of every new car registration. While it's a step in the right direction to educate the masses that may not make a connection between the car they drive and the air we breathe (admittedly, I was among them not long ago), I would rather see the five bucks put into bringing the electric car back.
Alex Scaperotta and Jordan Reichgut noticed that many people in the school pick up lines idle their cars. They learned through research that unnecessary idling wastes gasoline and releases CO² into the atmosphere, which accelerates global warming. They thought that a good place to start would be to get parents of Cider Mill School students to commit to not idling their car in the pick up line or anywhere else. Their message is simple: IF YOU IDLE YOUR CAR FOR TEN SECONDS OR MORE, YOU ARE USING MORE GAS THAN TURNING YOUR CAR OFF AND ON. In addition, they learned that idling is unnecessary to “warm up” your car (the best way to warm it up is to drive it) and idling is in fact harmful to engines – causing more gasoline residue to build up in the engines, exhaust system rusting, and more.