Must watch - fully scientific based solution for transition to 100 percent clean energy!
Must watch - fully scientific based solution for transition to 100 percent clean energy!
2 April 2013
Registration Fee Depends on Status
Nathan Hale Inn & Conference Center
The Northeast Recylcing Council is hosting Collecting Textiles: Make it Work for Your Community at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT. This event will offer municipalities, recycling coordinators, schools, colleges, universities, and civic groups an opportunity to learn key information about key players in the textile reuse and recycling industry. The even will also include practical information on how community leaders can set up textile reuse/recycling programs that can work for them. For a full schedule of the day, feel free to check out the agenda here.
*Registration Ends March 19, 2013: So Register Now
NERC Member (Board or Advisory Member): $285
Students, Nonprofits, Municipal Employees: $100
For More Information: http://www.nerc.org/
To Register: http://www.nerc.org/registration/indexSpg13.php
Tags: Civic Groups, Connecticut, Municipalities, Nathan Hale Inn and Conference Center, NERC, Recycling, Reuse, Storrs, Textiles, UCONN, Universities, University of 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
In Ireland, they're chipping away at the national debt by charging people for the amount of garbage they produce. Picking up the recycling, however, is free. Something this country should consider, or will Congress fight about that too?
See the video below from The New York Times.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy has asked Daniel C. Etsy, Yale University's director of the Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Center for Business and the Environment, to head up the state's combined Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). Touted as one of the leading environmental strategists, Malloy hopes Etsy's appointment will signify "a clean energy future."
See the excerpt below from The Hartford Courant.
Gov. Malloy Taps Yale Professor To Head Combined Energy, Environment Department
By CHRISTOPHER KEATING, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Hartford Courant
1:23 p.m. EST, February 10, 2011
HARTFORD — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy this morning named Yale University professor and environmental expert Daniel C. Esty to lead his recently announced state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
Esty, 51, serves as director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and Yale's Center for Business and the Environment…
"Professor Esty's research has focused on 'next generation' regulation and the relationships between the environment and trade, competitiveness, governance, and development," according to his Yale biography.
Esty told reporters that it is "an honor to be asked to serve in this new role, to work with the governor on the consolidation that he has announced, and to insure that the people of Connecticut get lower-cost energy, a greater energy efficiency and really become leaders in the push toward a clean energy future.''
To read more, click here.
Image courtesy of Yale University.
Tags: Center for Business and the Environment, Center for Environmental Law and Policy, clean energy, Daniel C. Etsy, Dannel P. Malloy, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, next generation regulation , Yale University
In today’s news from Reuters, the EPA drafted a plan to determine if drilling for natural gas and oil in bedrock, shale, and tight sand—also known as “fracking”—is harmful to water supplies. In a previous article on this site, we discussed this topic in regard to the documentary Gasland, produced and directed by Josh Fox. One particularly telling scene from that indie film was a resident living in the Marcellus Shale area who lit his tap water on fire. So does fracking harm drinking water? Perhaps, that’s a rhetorical question.
See the excerpt below.
EPA releases draft plan for fracking study
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – “U.S. environmental regulators issued a draft plan on Tuesday outlining how they will determine whether a technique for drilling natural gas harms supplies of drinking water.
Congress commissioned the Environmental Protection Agency to study hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking", after complaints that the process pollutes water. The EPA is slated to make public initial results of the study by the end of next year.
The study will investigate reported instances of drinking water contamination in three to five sites across the country where fracking has occurred, the agency said in the draft.
In addition, the EPA will conduct two to three prospective case studies, to take samples before, during and after water extraction, drilling and production of gas…
Congressman Ralph Hall, chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, said in a statement that he would closely review the study because he felt fracking had been the subject of ‘misleading attacks.’
‘Natural gas is a vital resource, and hydraulic fracturing is a well-established process that is enabling greatly increased production of clean, affordable energy,’ he said.”
To read more of the article, click here.
Image courtesy of Zazzle.com.
Tags: contamination, drilling, drinking water, EPA, fracking, Gasland, House Committee on Science, hydraulic fracturing, Josh Fox, Marcellus Shale, natural gas, Ralph Hall, Space and Technology, water supply
by Angela Hotaling
The 2010 climate change conference in Cancun has stirred up lots of controversy. The conference started on November 29th, culminating on December 10th. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which set emission reduction guidelines, will expire in December 2012 and there are pessimistic predictions for a legal continuation of the agreement.
Pessimism is a common theme of the media coverage overcastting the two week conference taking place in Cancun, Mexico. Last years summit in Copenhagen and its offspring, the Copenhagen Accord, has fallen short of making desired progress. There are many possibilities for what will come of all of this and those of us here who care about progress in climate change politics should really reflect upon the breadth of this issue.
There was an interesting article in The New York Times on Sunday. It was Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser's review of what the Food Safety Modernization bill (S510) will actually mean to consumers. There has been much debate about the bill, especially how it will fare in the "lame duck" government we now have since the early November elections.
If the thousands of people affected every year from food-borne illnesses are any indication, food regulation is obviously a necessity. The question is can the FDA handle it? To some, as in Jim Prevor's article in The Weekly Standard today, the FDA is a slow-moving behemoth that won't do much more regulation than it already does and will simply increase costs for the average consumer.
The point of the bill is for the FDA to become a proactive agency, rather than a reactive one. Instead of waiting until people get sick, why not protect against the source of contamination before it becomes a problem? It's kind of like safe sex for food groups. Sounds good in theory, but can it be done? Only time will tell.
See an excerpt below from Pollan and Schlosser's article:
A Stale Food Fight
By MICHAEL POLLAN and ERIC SCHLOSSER
Published: November 28, 2010
"THE best opportunity in a generation to improve the safety of the American food supply will come as early as Monday night, when the Senate is scheduled to vote on the F.D.A. Food Safety Modernization bill. This legislation is by no means perfect. But it promises to achieve several important food safety objectives, greatly benefiting consumers without harming small farmers or local food producers.
As recently reported by GreenBiz, Boston and Hartford have been chosen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as two of the five cities that will partake in the Greening America’s Capitals program. This is great news as it means a team of EPA backed designers will visit each city and will create and design plans that promote smart growth and will help ensure the future sustainability for both capitals.
In conjunction with the U.S Department of House and Development and the U.S. Department of Transportation, the EPA will provide all five cities with plans for “high-quality that includes cleaning up and recycling vacant lands, accessing and improving waterways, providing greater housing and transportation choices, and reducing infrastructure and energy costs.”
The CIA is using satellite intelligence to discern the extent of climate change. There are friends and foes of this issue. When this kind of technology is at their fingertips, why not get a little help from the federal government? On the other hand, others argue with war in the Middle East and terrorists setting themselves on fire on Christmas Day, the CIA may have better things to do with their time. Below is an excerpt from The New York Times.
CIA Is Sharing Data With Climate Scientists
by William J. Broad
Published January 4, 2010
"The nation’s top scientists and spies are collaborating on an effort to use the federal government’s intelligence assets — including spy satellites and other classified sensors — to assess the hidden complexities of environmental change. They seek insights from natural phenomena like clouds and glaciers, deserts and tropical forests.
The collaboration restarts an effort the Bush administration shut down and has the strong backing of the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In the last year, as part of the effort, the collaborators have scrutinized images of Arctic sea ice from reconnaissance satellites in an effort to distinguish things like summer melts from climate trends, and they have had images of the ice pack declassified to speed the scientific analysis."
To read more, click here.
Image courtesy of The New York Times.
In my recent discussion of green job hunting myths, I argued against the mystique surrounding the green job industry and the psychological and other barriers this presents to those hoping to transition into a green career. Responses from readers ranged from disbelief, to hesitant hope, to specific questions regarding qualifications and resources. In this article, I start to provide some data that may be useful to readers in understanding the projected growth of the green job market and where they might fit in.
What Do We Mean by 'the Green Job Market is Growing'?
According to the United States President's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), green jobs are everywhere, and the growth of the green job market is anticipated to continue to outstrip the growth of other markets. In its July 2009 report, the CEA cited data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showing projected growth in environmentally-related occupations to be 38% more than all other occupations combined by 2016. This is depicted in the following figure, reproduced from page 8 of their report:
To put this into perspective, it is worth noting that the occupations they considered were actually in a fairly limited range. Specifically, the BLS projections drawn from in the CEA report are based on data for the following occupations only:
Tags: anneli olila, bls, bureau of labor statistics, cea, council of economic advisers, economic projections, environmental occupations, Global Insight, green jobs, olila documents and communication strategies
Via Debra Caviness
Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced the state is dedicating $4 million in federal stimulus funds to help homeowners and businesses pay for the installation of solar-powered hot water heating systems, an investment that will lower utility bills and promote the use of alternative fuels.
“I am proud of Connecticut’s leadership in promoting and using greener, cleaner technology,” Governor Rell said. “This incentive will help hundreds of families and businesses make the switch to renewable energy by saving them money on installation costs and ultimately their hot water bills. It would also be a much-needed boost in business for those who sell and install these systems.”The new Solar Thermal Incentive Program is part of the comprehensive State Energy Plan that has qualified for $38 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The broad-based plan includes programs that:
Tags: CCEF, clean energy ct, Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, ct green business, ct green living, federal stimulus ct, governor jodi rell, Lisa Dondy, renewable energy ct, solar hot water incentives, Solar Thermal Incentive Program
Tags: Christopher "Kim" Elliman, Connecticut Council of Environmental Quality, Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Karl Wagener, land acquisition, land preservation, open space, Open Space Institute, Pequot Library, state of Connecticut, wildlife preservation
Connecticut is known for its rolling hills and green farmland. But unfortunately, that farmland is rapidly dwindling. For at least the last five years, Connecticut has been steadily losing this precious commodity. Many experts agree that if this decline continues, the remaining farmland will simply disappear in only a few generations.
According to an article dated July 20th in the Norwich Bulletin, there were as many as 500 active farms in the state in 1990. By 2007, there were less than half that number. And today, we only have 151 active farms registered in the state.
“In the 1940s, there were about 2,000 to 3,000 farms,” said Bill Duesing, Executive Director of Connecticut’s Northeast Organic Farming Association (CT NOFA). “The drop off has been significant.”
Part of the reason behind this decline is how much it costs to run a farm and how little the return is. The Norwich Bulletin also disclosed that at the beginning of this year the average dairy farmer was paid only $1.07 per gallon of milk—down 25% in the last decade. With a $1 billion dairy industry in this state that accounts for over 4,000 jobs, the state Department of Agriculture estimates a loss of $1 for every gallon of milk produced. Clearly, the odds are stacked against the small farmer.
“We need to protect our farmland,” said Duesing at a recent showing of the movie FRESH at the Pequot Library. “We’re losing it.”
Tags: American Farmland Trust, Bill Duesing, Charles Shafer Restoration, Charlie Shafer, CT NOFA, dairy farms, Donald W. Fish, farmland, Fish Family Farms, Governor M. Jodi Rell, land conservation, Smart Growth America, sprawl, The Clean Water Action Council, Working Lands Alliance
August 9, 2009
The New York Times
By JOHN M. BRODER
WASHINGTON — The changing global climate will pose profound strategic challenges to the United States in coming decades, raising the prospect of military intervention to deal with the effects of violent storms, drought, mass migration and pandemics, military and intelligence analysts say.
Such climate-induced crises could topple governments, feed terrorist movements or destabilize entire regions, say the analysts, experts at the Pentagon and intelligence agencies who for the first time are taking a serious look at the national security implications of climate change.
Recent war games and intelligence studies conclude that over the next 20 to 30 years, vulnerable regions, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and South and Southeast Asia, will face the prospect of food shortages, water crises and catastrophic flooding driven by climate change that could demand an American humanitarian relief or military response.
Tags: climate change, Department of Defense, fossil fuels, geopolitical impact, global warming, greenhouse gas emissions, military defense, National Defense University, National Intelligence Council, national security, The Pentagon
But thought is exactly what the U.S. government has put into it. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal dated February 20, 2009, the Pentagon estimates that approximately 10 million acres of training facilities have embedded rounds that have never exploded. This means they pollute the area with toxic materials like lead and tungsten that leach into the ground and surrounding waterways. The government spends about $200 million each year just digging up these leftover shells, or unexploded ordinance (UXO).
“Green munitions…are our long-term solution to the unexploded-ordinance problem, and they should be pursued aggressively,” the Defense Science Board said in 2003 as quoted in the Wall Street Journal article.
March 19, 2009
The New York Times
By MARIAN BURROS
WASHINGTON — On Friday, Michelle Obama will begin digging up a patch of White House lawn to plant a vegetable garden, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden in World War II. There will be no beets (the president doesn’t like them) but arugula will make the cut.
While the organic garden will provide food for the first family’s meals and formal dinners, its most important role, Mrs. Obama said, will be to educate children about healthful, locally grown fruit and vegetables at time when obesity has become a national concern.
In an interview in her office, Mrs. Obama said, “My hope is that through children, they will begin to educate their families and that will, in turn, begin to educate our communities.”
Twenty-three fifth graders from Bancroft Elementary School in Washington will help her dig up the soil for the 1,100-square-foot plot in a spot visible to passers-by on E Street. (It’s just below the Obama girls’ swing set.) Students from the school, which has had a garden since 2001, will also help plant, harvest and cook the vegetables, berries and herbs.
So I live in Stratford, a smallish town of 50,000, here in our fair state, New England. Since I am not from this part of the country, I have discovered a curious quirk of the New English people -- they take political landscaping to an entirely different level than anywhere else I have ever lived.
In Connecticut there is no real county government, and the State government is mostly ignored. Instead, there are 169 “municipalities” that all have their own way of doing things. Actually, that is putting it lightly. Town governments in Connecticut are more like rivals on "Survivor", where the shared dialect across townline is usually "F--- you! We're the REAL Daughters of the Revolution and we're preserving our individual, municipal rights, even if we have to use canning jars and vinegar!"
For example, in the case of road maintenance, for example, the municipalities, in total, have 17,115 road miles that they are required to maintain… 4.5 times the number that the State maintains. As a result, the sheer cost of road maintenance (hmmm, every town has their own rules, storage sheds, equipment, crews, etc.) is enormous.
As far as I can see, the only thing consistent across the municipalities is enforced by the State law requiring that a very bored looking police officer be on every roadwork site, either sitting in his squad car reading a Harlequin Romance, or chatting with one or more of the otherwise-idle workers about the imminent threat of terrorism in Haddam Neck.
So, fast forward to this week, when I started to research the RECYCLING PROGRAM in Stratford...
In five days we will inaugurate our first African American president. It's momentous. It's historic. And it's about time.
Back in the early days of the primary campaign some black leaders raised the question, is Obama black enough. My only question is this - is he green enough.
I think he just may be. I sure hope so. I have watched with pleasure and relief at the science/climate/energy/environment team he has put in place and each appointment raised my level of optimism. Could Barack Obama really be our first green president?
We are faced with an historic opportunity. At no other time would it have been possible to get Congress to approve the kind of spending that could really jump-start the new clean green economy we so desperately need. Only a financial melt-down of current proportions can shake that kind of money from the tree.
It will take bold action and a lot of very smart decisions to make this work, and I'm waiting with bated breath to see if Obama and his team can pull it off. Back in December I wrote a post for my blog, The Future is Green entitled "What we need now" in which I suggested that this administration should be judged primarily on the extent to which the next four to eight years is devoted to energy and climate policy. In my mind, nothing else matters. Nothing else matters because everything else hinges on this.
I'll be watching.
by Heather Burns-DeMelo
An article in the NY Times today reports, 'COME January, Connecticut will become the second state, after California, to begin turning its building code green. Even as the law is poised to go into effect, however, building industry officials are calling on the state to turn back."
"The law, adopted in 2007, requires that all privately financed construction with projected costs exceeding $5 million meet standards set by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, known as LEED. Renovations above $2 million will be similarly affected after Jan. 1, 2010. Residential projects with four or fewer units are exempt."
I'm the first one to admit that change isn't easy. In fact, it's often inconvenient, expensive and fraught with the unknown--which is something that a business owner in a down economy is smart to steer clear of. But does risk mean we are smart not to identify and implement our climate change business strategy? That we don't stretch beyond our comfort zone and in doing so, earn our business a place at the table as an early adopter and even a highly sought after expert? Andrew Hoffman and John Woody, authors of Climate Change: What's Your Business Strategy, published by Harvard Business Press think not.
With the law about to take hold, the argument being put forth by the HBRA and AIA in Connecticut is that LEED language is “awkward,” “unworkable” and “messed up” to the point that builders won't want to build LEED if they don't understand what that means. I have to admit: they have a point.
In fact, it makes me wonder if the law was adopted in 2007, where are the workshops, classes, books, checklists, mentoring programs, and other support needed for a paradigm shift being imposed on an industry? If our government branches intend to impose--they must also educate.
Supposedly, LEED consists of a checklist (HOW to accomplish the things on the list are to a good degree left to interpretation) and come with a project manager to answer questions, but few builders I know who have made use of such limited resources have had anything positive to say about their experience.
In the same way that we standardized driving and made publicly available manuals and training to learn to do it well, our government has the responsibility to provide our builders with the tools they need to get the job done right.
Where to find out more about the "how to" of green building in Connecticut:
The Green Building Initiative - Not LEED, but offers software for environmentally friendly retrofitting and new builds.
CT Green Building Council - Occasional classes held throughout the year.
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.
"We never had a landfill crisis. What we have is a resource-efficiency crisis. There are resource wars going around the planet right now to get the raw materials that are being destroyed in our landfills and our incinerators."
For Other Trash Talk from NPR this week see "Getting Rid of Junk, Staying Green."
I don't know about you, but I've always counted on the EPA to safeguard our planet. Not that I'm naive enough to think they're perfect, but their recent move to loosen the reigns on corporations who pollute has me miffed.
This week, Connecticut joined 11 other states including, Arizona, California, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont, in a suit against the EPA for streamlining the application process for companies who produce toxic chemicals.
Under the old laws, companies discharging 500 lbs. or more had to file detailed reports, and under the new regulations, companies can forgo filing lengthy forms for 5,000 lbs. or less.
Call me crazy, but given the current state of environmental duress in the US, shouldn't we be getting more stringent about what toxic substances we allow to pollute our planet? Shame on you, EPA!
The aging Indian Point Nuclear Power point and its radioactive isotopes are far from a clean, green energy option. Previous arguements against closing the plant included not having enough power to replace the plant's output. This is no longer the case.
FUSEUSA (Friends United for Sustainable Energy) is a grassroots, not-for-profit organization, that advocates for the development and use of sustainable energy, in an effort to protect public health and safety and to preserve the integrity of the environment. Their current campaign is to STOP the issuance of relicensing of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plants, (located just outside New York City) that have a peak injury radius which includes Fairfield and Litchfield counties. They have already filed Contentions and Rulemaking Petitions with the NRC, and are currently preparing Intervener Petitions and other legal actions.
FUSEUSA is a member of the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition (IPSEC) which is a coalition of over 70 community groups dedicated to the closure of Indian Point. Visit their website or read more about their recent legal action in the NY Times.
By Patricia Gilbanks
The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters recently released its annual score card, an effort designed to track legislators' voting record on bills that have an environmental impact. In addition to tracking votes cast by our legislators, the nonpartisan organization reports on the negative or positive impact on the environment of laws passed in the preceding year.
The League has three goals for its work in the state: to elect pro-environment lawmakers, to hold legislators accountable, and to engage the public in Connecticut's environmental policies.
They set off a bit of a fracas in the media as legislators complained that the scoring did not always do justice to their efforts on environmental issues.
by Patricia Gilbanks
The mission of Connecticut Innovations is to “guide good ideas from the mind to the marketplace.” They provide strategic capital and insight to push the frontiers of such high tech industries in Connecticut as energy, photonics, information technology and biotechnology.
Since its creation in 1989 by the CT state legislature, they’ve helped over 100 emerging Connecticut companies bring new products and services to the marketplace.
One good idea they’ve spearheaded in their effort to provide state residents with clean energy alternatives for home and business is the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund.
You can view their map giving examples of the use of clean energy in Connecticut at http://www.cleanenergytrail.com/ and read more about the biomass, fuel cell, landfill gas, solar, wave and wind energies in use in our state. Their quick glossary of these renewable forms of energy will help you learn more about all of these options.
At the upcoming Fairfield County Green Drinks event at Splash in Westport on October 10th, Bob Wall will give a brief talk on the Energy Fund. See you there!
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.
Governor M. Jodi Rell has introduced a new state law, Public Act 07-189, that creates a mandatory recycling program for certain major electronic appliances such as computers and televisions, slated to begin in 2009, Government Technology reports.
Under the law, manufacturers of those devices will have to register with the state Department of Environmental Protection, starting in 2009, and pay an annual fee that DEP will use to administer the recycling program. Also in 2009, cities and towns will be required to begin providing for the recycling of the affected devices, including making arrangements for collection and transportation of the devices to a DEP-approved recycler.
The new law specifically exempts certain smaller electronic devices from the recycling requirement, including cell phones, PDAs, calculators and pagers, computers or TVs that are parts of a motor vehicle or household appliance, home telephones (unless they have a video display larger than 4 inches diagonally) and devices that are part of equipment used in an industrial, commercial or medical setting.
Source: EnvironmentalLeader.comSpecial thanks to Colin Beavan for helping me compute 2 plus 2. You can find this video clip and other great stuff on his No Impact Man blog.
Today, Governor Rell announced the installation of bicycle racks on 100 buses serving the Greater Hartford area. The project was undertaken by the Federal Transit Administration, Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT), CTTRANSIT, Central Connecticut Bicycle Alliance (CCBA) and Capital Region Council of Governments.
"Last year, the bike racks on buses in New Haven and Stamford were used more than 27,000 times, and use is up again in 2007," Governor Rell said. "Clearly, people are enjoying the convenience that the racks offer. Adding racks to buses in the greater Hartford area will continue our progress in getting single occupant vehicles off the roads.
What happens when 50 people who rarely or never speak come together for an entire day? Miracles.
This fall, the Ridgefield Clergy Association and RACE will co-sponsor a day-long retreat for members of the Ridgefield Board of Selectmen, Planning and Zoning Commission, the superintendent of schools, principals, teachers and students, the League of Women Voters, members of the Chamber of Commerce, Clergymen, builders and developers, business leaders, Rotary, civics groups, environmental groups, banks, and affordable housing to meet with one goal in mind: to identify the things in their community that they love and want to preserve for generations to come.
By facilitating cross communication and giving people an opportunity to discuss the challenges they face in preserving the town that they love, there's no telling what wondrous results may emerge.
Small businesses in Connecticut may turn to this program for help in meeting state and U.S. federal air pollution control regulations. The program includes an ombudsman component that represents the small business community, and a technical assistance division, which is designed to help small businesses meet the requirements of the 1990 Clean Air Act. The program sponsors seminars and conferences, develops fact sheets on new regulations, and offers a technical assistance hotline. Businesses with fewer than 100 employees are eligible for assistance. Source: GreenBiz.com
Here's your chance to call your local government officials and get them join cities across the U.S. that are organizing local meetings on October 4, 2007 to discuss and implement innovative strategies that can reduce pollution while saving money and building healthier, more livable communities.
The National Conversation on Climate Action is part of an effort to spark a broad national discussion on the challenges and solutions associated with global warming at the local level. On October 4th, mayors and cities across the United States will be convening non-partisan local dialogues to draw attention to and build local support for solutions to global warming. For more info or to register go to www.climateconversation.org.
Each green dot on the map to the left represents a Connecticut Clean Energy Fund community--nearly 75 percent of communities in the state. Thanks to all of you out there who have helped spread the word and convince your towns to bring clean energy to Connecticut. From Lise Dondy and her work as President of the Connecitcut Clean Energy Fund to father, middle school teacher, and Portland Connecicut resident Andy Bauer--the citizens of Connecticut are making a difference!
Lise Dondy says, "In addition to community-based initiatives designed to create awareness and demand for clean energy, 244 clean energy systems - including fuel cell, solar photovoltaic, biomass and advanced hydro systems - have been installed or are under way. These will provide the energy equivalent of electricity for 70,000 homes. These clean energy systems include: 36 commercial installations (27 solar, 6 fuel cell, 3 biomass), 8 demonstration projects and 200 residential solar photovoltaic systems, 100 of which are installed and 100 which are in process.
Source: Connecticut Innovations
According to the Connecticut Climate Change website, "Your carbon footprint is a representation of the effect you, or your organization, have on the climate in terms of the total amount of greenhouse gases you produce (measured in units of carbon dioxide). Many of your actions generate carbon emissions, which contribute to accelerating global warming and climate change. By measuring your carbon footprint through such tools as the Safe Climate Carbon Calculator, you can get a better sense of what your individual impact is and which parts of your lifestyle deserve the greatest attention. Armed with such information you can more readily take effective action to shrink your carbon footprint, thereby minimizing your personal impact on the climate."
Visit the CT Climate Action Change Steering Commitee's website whose mission is to deal with climate change in Connecticut by decreasing statewide carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2010 and going 10 percent lower than that by 2020. You can also read the state's 2005 Climate Action Plan that outlines 55 actions to fight global warming.
While I'm not sure how anyone will monitor such actions, it's great to hear that all of Connecticut's waters in Long Island Sound are now part of a "No Discharge Area," making it illegal for boaters to discharge sewage from their vessels anywhere in the state's portion of the Sound.
A "No Discharge Area" is a designated body of water in which the discharge of treated as well as untreated boat sewage is prohibited. Boaters in "No Discharge Areas" are required to use pumpout facilities or pumpout boats to dispose of any waste.
Connecticut's first "No Discharge Area" was approved by EPA and designated in the Stonington area in 2003, followed by the Mystic/Groton area in 2004 and the Groton to Guilford area in 2006. The final portion is the Branford to Greenwich stretch of Long Island Sound announced today. DEP requested the No Discharge designation for this area in May 2006.
EPA is making nearly $1.7 million available for clean diesel projects under the 2007 Northeast Diesel Collaborative Emissions Reductions Grant Program. Project applications are being accepted under two national clean diesel programs: Clean School Bus USA and the Voluntary Diesel Retrofit program.
Projects may include a variety of diesel emissions reductions solutions such as add-on pollution control technology, engine or vehicle replacement, idle reduction technologies or strategies, and/or cleaner fuel use. All projects must benefit the air quality in the geographic areas that include Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, the U.S. Virgin Islands and/or Vermont; and Tribal lands belonging to the federally recognized Indian tribes in these regions. The deadline for applying is July 31, 2007.
“Diesel exhaust contributes significantly to air pollution, especially in urban areas. The fine particles in diesel exhaust pose serious health concerns, including aggravating asthma and other respiratory symptoms,” said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “This new EPA funding will help northeastern communities to enjoy cleaner, healthier air. EPA and the Northeast Diesel Collaborative are working to make that black puff of smoke a relic of times past.”
Download the NEDC Emissions Reduction RFP (epa.gov/region02/grants/nedc_rfp_final_060707.pdf)
EPA’s Voluntary Diesel Retrofit program (epa.gov/cleandiesel/index.htm#voluntary)
Northeast Diesel Collaborative (northeastdiesel.org)
SOURCE: EPA Website
PLAINVILLE - Plainville is getting "greener" all the time, thanks to the efforts of the Plainville Conservation Commission. The 11-member commission has worked hard to ensure that about 167 acres of town properties will remain free of pesticides and free of synthetic fertilizers. The Town Council voted unanimously last month to accept the commission's request to keep the town-owned properties free of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Plainville is the second town in the state to pass a voluntary resolution to not use pesticides on its properties, according to Jason Rupaka, vice chairman of the Plainville Conservation Commission. Rupaka said Milford was the first in the state to adopt the resolution.
Plainville also is home to the pesticide-free Paderewski Park, one of only nine in the nation that does not use any pesticides, Rupaka said. "We've come a long way," Rupaka said. "Connecticut was the first state in the country to ban pesticides on its elementary school properties and our Board of Education has already asked the Town Council to look into other types of lawn care on the rest of its school properties. I am very happy with what we've been able to do," Rupaka said. "Our state is the most progressive and Plainville is one of the most progressive towns in the state to have a voluntary nonuse of pesticides." Town manager Robert Lee said the town's voluntary program is designed to reduce the amount of pollution that goes into the Pequabuck and Quinnipiac rivers in town. Lee said the commission has asked the town to stop using pesticides on six town properties. Rupaka told the council that 49 homeowners have committed more than 16 acres as pesticide free so far as part of the commission's Clean Rivers Project. Source: By Jennette Brodeur, Herald Correspondent 01/11/2007.
The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection has recognized citizens and businesses who have demonstrated a commitment to the environment for this year's GreenCircle Awards.
Read this partial list of honorees below to become inspired, contact them to join in, or start an effort of your very own!
Dave Steinmetz – Woodbridge, CT
Dave Steinmetz and his sisters have worked on the "No Butts About It" litter campaign since 1996. Dave and his sisters have conducted neighborhood cleanups and maintained a website that promotes the elimination of cigarette butt litter.
Virginia Walton, Recycling Coordinator, Public Works Department – Mansfield, CT
Among numerous other strides to promote recycling, Virginia’s main effort is the composting program she installed in Mansfield’s schools. Virginia teaches K through 12 students through the actual composting of school lunch wastes, which fertilizes the Green Thumbs garden in the Southeast School’s greenhouse.
Allan Rawson & Jeffrey Rawson, Rawson Products – Putnam, CT
Allan and Jeffrey Rawson donated 37 acres of open space lands, which will preserve a section of Rocky Brook and provide a link from the Airline Trail to the Tri-State Marker.
Charles Keating, Trail Maintenance Volunteer, Chatfield Hollow State Park – Killingworth, CT
Charles Keating is the sole volunteer for the over 10 miles of trails at Chatfield Hollow State Park and adjoining sections of Cockaponset State Forest. He routinely works on clearing blown down branches from the trails, "armoring" wet spots, and improving drainage.
Kevin Watson – Norwich, CT
Kevin Watson adopted the streets Canterbury Turnpike and Old Canterbury Turnpike. On average, he cleaned them three times a month or about 3,000 volunteer hours per year. He has also been involved with various Wildlife Projects at Salt Rock State Camp Ground.
Chanelle Adams – Bloomfield, CT
Chanelle is a twelve year old, eighth grade student at the Lewis Fox Middle School Science Academy in Hartford. With the goal of educating the public on the importance of keeping a clean environment, she conducted a cleanup day in the vicinity of her school entitled: "Harford is Beautiful, Let’s keep it That Way!"
Russell Miller – Madison, CT
For the past two years, Russell Miller has organized the clean up of the salt marshes at Hammonasset State Park in Madison where approximately 580 cubic feet of Styrofoam were removed from the marshes. Mr. Miller also planned a pollution prevention activity with groups of children to measure the Styrofoam, learn about recycling, and built an eight-foot by ten-foot fort, complete with a roof in an effort to recycle the material.
Carolyn Wysocki, Ecological Health Organization, Inc. – Berlin, CT
The Ecological Health Organization and Grassroots Coalition developed an environmental instructional program for daycare centers to teach children and their families the value of preserving ladybugs and the use of Integrated Pest Management as an alternative to using pesticides.
James Ventres, East Haddam Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Commission – East Haddam, CT
Mr. Ventres, the wetlands enforcement officer, teamed with the Town of East Haddam to prevail in the wetlands enforcement action against the Goodspeed Airport.
Jesse Raymond – Colchester, CT
For his Eagle Scout project, Jesse Raymond relocated a ¼ mile portion of the Orange Trail at Devil’s Hopyard State Park. He got his Colchester Boy Scout Troop 72 from Colchester, Connecticut involved in the project. The total donated labor consisted of 100 hours, and Jesse’s work made the Orange Trail safer to use.
John Sheirer – Enfield, CT
The McCann Family Farm is an 84-acre nature preserve in Somers, Connecticut that includes a two-mile hiking trail. Between May 17, 2005 and May 17, 2006, John Sheirer hiked this trail once a day, clearing downed trees, removing litter, monitoring plant and wildlife, and attending to damage caused by the October 2005 flood.
John Sheirer – Enfield, CT
Source: Read a full list of honorees
I must admit I knew little to nothing about Governor Jodi Rell until recently. It's not that I'm not interested in politics, but somehow local politics--the very arena I should care most about--has been overshadowed by national and international events.
Since digging around to uncover ways Connecticut is green, I've become deeply impressed with her commitment to addressing the Climate Crisis in practical and pragmatic ways.
The recently launched One Thing campaign shows us that however small, our actions do make a difference. Now all I have to do is get her to make Biodiesel available at local gas stations...anyone?
By Heather Burns-DeMelo
The thought of swimming around in chlorinated water has never sounded like a good idea to me. The smell of my skin off-gasing well after returning home from a day at the pool has often left me uneasy, and I much prefer a day at the beach. While I've often had a nagging feeling that fresh bodies of water weren't as clean as I'd like, this article posted on the Connecticut Fund for the Environment has me considering spending the next steamy day cooling off in my bathtub.
According to the article, "the federal government and the state of Connecticut promised the state's citizens clean and healthy water 30 years ago, yet much work remains. That early commitment calls for stopping the 2 billion gallons of raw sewage that enters our waterways each year by separating combined sewer overflows and restoring the “Dead Zone” in Long Island Sound by removing about 60 percent of the nitrogen discharges from the sewage treatment plants in the state.
While the regular legislative session adjourned in early June, it did so without passing a budget or bond package, leaving key components like the Clean Water Fund stuck in limbo.
Despite years of great progress, the Clean Water Fund — the primary mechanism for funding those wastewater treatment and sewer projects in Connecticut — began to fall apart when the legislature decided to shift that money to other non-water related purposes in 2002."
What can you do? Email Jodi Rell and ask that she make cleaning up our water--or at least stop making it a toilet--a priority.
Small businesses in Connecticut may turn to this program for help in meeting state and U.S. federal air pollution control regulations. The program includes an ombudsman component that represents the small business community, and a technical assistance division, which is designed to help small businesses meet the requirements of the 1990 Clean Air Act. The program sponsors seminars and conferences, develops fact sheets on new regulations, and offers a technical assistance hotline. Businesses with fewer than 100 employees are eligible for assistance. Drop a line to Connecticut Small Business Assistance Program, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106; call 860-424-3000 or Email the CT Department of Environmental Protection. Source: GreenBiz.com
In late June 2007, Connecticut passed "The Energy Bill" which increases the state's already green building requirements. Prior, state facilities such as schools and govermental buildings costing $5 million or more after January 1, 2007 needed to meet the energy efficiency and environmental standards required to earn a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver rating. This was a certainly a step in the right direction, but this new bill raised the bar. Beginning January 2, 2008, any state facility that receives $2 million or more in state funding must earn a Silver LEED rating. In today's market, it's safe to say that's just about all state facilities.
The bill also extends the breadth of construction projects to include renovations to state facilites costing $2 million or more; new schools authorized by the legislature on or after January 1, 2009 that cost $5 million or more; and school rennovation projects after the same date costing at least $2 million.
I came across this video clip while reading the latest post on Colin Beaven's No Impact Man blog. It's an interesting argument and I'd love to hear what all of you out there think.