Archive for May, 2009

Al Gore warns on latest climate trends: TED Video

TED Al Gore 0902
Filmed February, 2009.

May 28, 2009 at 7:34 pm Leave a comment

Tour shows what really happens to leavings

Maui News Letter to the Editor after the SMS Tour de Trash.

May 26, 2009 at 3:31 pm Leave a comment

Ecology Action

Ecology Action
is a Santa Cruz, CA nonprofit environmental consultancy delivering cutting edge education services, technical assistance, and program implementation for initiatives that assist individuals, business and government to maximize environmental quality and community well being.

Since 1970 Ecology Action has combined municipal, foundation, and private funding to establish cutting-edge conservation programs, prove their effectiveness financially and operationally, and establish each program as a permanent community resource.

They seek innovative ways to instill environmental awareness, promote pragmatic change, and create opportunities for individuals, businesses, and community agencies to save money, create jobs, and contribute to a sustainable local economy.

Browse some of their current programs:

Bike Smart!
Promotes safe bicycling through fun, hands-on education programs at Santa Cruz County schools.

Bike to Work
Provides incentives, free breakfast, and support to get you hooked on bicycling as transportation.

Business Waste Assessment
Waste assessment software to help government and businesses reduce waste, save money, and promote resource conservation.

Clean Beaches Coalition
Ongoing beach cleanups including the Annual Coastal Cleanup

Climate Solutions Program
A leadership initiative to mobilize the entire Monterey Bay Area to radically reduce our carbon footprint.

Electric Bike Information
Providing reduced prices, safety and skill training, and increased service for Santa Cruz County residents.

Folding Bikes in Buses
Providing reduced prices on folding bikes and bus passes to promote bike with bus transportation for Santa Cruz County residents.

Cabrillo College Go Green
Choose an alternative to driving alone and you can make a difference in reducing traffic congestion and greenhouse gases. For Cabrillo College students, staff and faculty members.

Green Building
Information about the design and construction of healthy, sustainable places to live and work.

Green Business Program
Offers free technical and promotional assistance to help you become a certified green business.

Green Gardener Program
Provides professional training and certification in ecological landscaping and helps customers find certified Green Gardeners.

Home Composting Program
Offers a wealth of home composting resources and opportunities for the residents of Santa Cruz County.

Household Hazardous Waste
Provides information about local and regional drop-off facilities and alternatives to traditionally used chemicals.

Integrated Pest Managment
Provides information and technical assistance about less-toxic alternatives to traditional pest management.

Livestock and Land
Provides technical assistance and cost share dollars for manure and land management approaches that protect water quality.

LodgingSavers Program
Delivers a comprehensive suite of rebated energy efficiency retrofits to Lodging Properties in PG&E service territory.

Model Schools Program
Reduces pest problems, flooding and erosion, and the use of toxic chemicals in schools.

Multifamily Recycling
A partnership with twelve local agencies and haulers, implementing comprehensive recycling and waste reduction programs at low income multifamily housing complexes.

Oil Recycling
Provides information about local and regional used oil and filter drop-off facilities for cars, boats, and farm equipment.

Our Water Our World
Raises public awareness about alternatives to using hazardous pesticide and fertilizer products in and around the home.

Santa Cruz County Recycles
Provides information that enables people and businesses to reuse, recycle, and buy recycled in Santa Cruz County.

Special Event Recycling
Offers recycling and waste reduction programs at events through technical assistance, outreach and education.

RightLights Program
Provides subsidized lighting upgrades and free professional assistance to help businesses lower energy bills and boost cash flow.

Tourism Recycling
Offers recycling and waste reduction programs at events through technical assistance, outreach and education.

Transportation Membership Services
Encourages member employees to use other ways than driving alone to commute to and from work.

Waste Free Schools Program
Assists Santa Cruz County schools in institutionalizing campus recycling, composting and reduce / reuse programs.

May 16, 2009 at 7:11 pm Leave a comment—All About Recycling

 At you can find Recycling Centers and learn how to recycle paper, metal, hazardous, plastic, glass, electronics, automotive, household, garden and construction materials. Also on site are reports on compliance and recycling, On-Product Labeling, Recyclability reporting, and Data reporting.

Through their multifaceted offerings, Earth911 provides a comprehensive overview of the recycling process, from telling your story to the people that want to hear it, to ensuring your company stays ahead of the game in regulatory compliance and social responsibility.

The site has a full-service database of over 100,000 locations across the U.S. Dedicated to maintaining the validity and credibility of the data. Recommended as a consumer resource for recycling by both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy.

May 16, 2009 at 12:30 pm Leave a comment

Algae biofuels pioneer GreenFuel Technologies will be shutting down

CNET reported on May 14 that the algae biofuels pioneer GreenFuel Technologies will be shutting down. The official reason given for the company’s demise is the state of the economy, as the industry is in the research stage and companies operate with a number of uncertainties.

May 15, 2009 at 10:35 pm 1 comment

GoodGuide—Ratings of Natural, Green and Healthy Products

 GoodGuide provides the world’s largest and most reliable source of information on the health, environmental, and social impacts of the products in your home. Cradle to Grave analyses.

  • Find safe, healthy and green products that protect you and your family
  • Search or browse over 70,000 food, toys, personal care, & household products to see what’s really beneath the label
  • Use expert advice and recommendations on products to quickly learn the impacts of what you buy
  • Find better products and make purchasing decisions based on what’s important to you
  • Create a personalized favorites list with the products that are right for you and your family

GoodGuide gives what they consider the best information available, wherever and whenever you need it most. It can help you find better products that represent your values, avoid products that are harmful to your health, the environment, or society – and enable you to take actions to help improve the world.

May 15, 2009 at 9:29 pm Leave a comment

Skin Deep: Cosmetic Safety Reviews

 Skin Deep is a safety guide to cosmetics and personal care products brought to you by researchers at the Environmental Working Group.

Skin Deep pairs ingredients in more than 42,000 products against 50 definitive toxicity and regulatory databases, making it the largest integrated data resource of its kind. Why did a small nonprofit take on such a big project? Because the FDA doesn’t require companies to test their own products for safety.

May 15, 2009 at 9:17 pm Leave a comment

Less Fossil Fuels Must Be Burned to Avoid Tipping Point

OilPump Two new studies (German and British) found a limit to how much manmade carbon dioxide can be added to the atmosphere before warming exceeds a 2 degrees Celsius or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit increase. The world must put less than one trillion metric tons of carbon in the air during the first half of the 21st century to avoid the proverbial point of no return.

During the first nine years of this century the world emitted one-third of that amount, and if current rates continue, the world will emit one trillion metric tons in 20 years, said Malte Meinshausen, lead author of the German study.

About 234 billion metric tons of carbon were emitted through 2006, which means only 760 billion tons are left to emit, if the study’s levels are correct.

President Obama wants to cut U.S. carbon emissions by 80 percent. Bill Hare, co-author of German study, said that is a “good start but it’s not enough to limit warming.”

If other countries cut their per-person emission levels to match U.S. cuts, the U.S. would have to cut 90-95 percent to keep the world from exceeding one trillion ton level, Hare said.

Fewer amounts of fossil fuels must be burned to cut emissions. Three quarters of known reserves must be untouched the authors of the German study said. “Only a fast switch away from fossil fuels will give us a reasonable chance to avoid considerable warming,” said Mainshausen.

World carbon emissions have to start dropping by 2015 or cuts will be too “draconian,” according to Meinhausen.

Since the industrial revolution started, about 500 billion tons of carbon have been emitted, according to a University of Oxford study. The study says that one trillion metric tons of carbon will be a tipping point for climate change.

“Emitting carbon dioxide slower will not prevent dangerous climate change unless it involves phasing out carbon dioxide emissions altogether,” the study said.

via Care2

May 12, 2009 at 4:57 pm Leave a comment

Green Home—New Sierra Club Sustainable Home Website


This new Sierra Club website has useful information about making your home more sustainable.
C02: Ways to reduce your C02 footprint
Solar: Information about solar electricity and hot water
Home Health: Health hazards, Healthy lawns and gardens, raising healthy children, eating well and air qualitiy.
Learning center: An extensive library of articles on air, clothing, appliances, bed & bath
Videos with tips about greening your home.
Blog for discussions.

May 11, 2009 at 11:52 pm Leave a comment

South Maui Tour de Trash big success

recyclesymbol50px Saturday May 9, 2009.

Wonder what happens to your recycled items? The Tour de Trash, is an inspiring and educational voyage by bus to major recycling facilities across Maui. The tour includes some walking and even some smelly places.

At the request of South Maui Sustainability, the County of Maui Solid Waste Division created a Tour de Trash starting in South Maui and including new locations not on the Central Maui based Tour. Included were Central Maui Landfill, Pacific Biodiesel, Maui Earth Compost and SOS Metals Recycling, among others.

A group of us spent a most enjoyable day learning a lot about what happens with the things in our waste stream. We ended up being shown around the Fairmont Kea Lani by the head of their Green Team and being impressed by some of the things they are doing. Find out more about their program here.

All in all, it was a very inspiring day and a lot of good ideas leading to new projects for South Maui Sustainability should come out of the experience.

See photos of the tour.

May 9, 2009 at 1:35 am 1 comment

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May 2009