Make-A-Difference Month 2013

Make-A-Difference Month is back this year with more blogs, more ideas, and more energy! This year we are hosting the blogs on Mobile Baykeeper’s website, http://www.MobileBaykeeper.org.

Click here to visit the blog.

Click here to sign up for the RSS feed and have the blogs delivered to your inbox each morning.

As always, remember that together we can make a difference. It all starts with you.

Eugene Becomes Third City in Oregon to Ban Plastic Bags

Congratulations to the city of Eugene, Oregon, for becoming the third city in that state to ban plastic bags, joining the state of Hawaii and a handful of cities in California. Who’s next?

 

Eugene has become the third city in Oregon to implement a single-use plastic bag ban following the city council’s vote to ban plastic checkout bags and put a fee on paper bags. The decision will have big payoffs for Oregon’s environment and the Pacific Ocean.

{Click here to read more about alternatives to plastic bags.}

“Eugene City Councilors should be applauded for standing up for our oceans and voting to curb the flow of plastic bag pollution,” said Environment Oregon’s state director, Sarah Higginbotham. “Now, we need other cities to take action and make a lasting difference with bag bans of their own.”

Thousands of Eugenians voiced their support for a bag ban, alongside dozens of small and large businesses. As the second largest city in the state, Eugene’s bag ban will make a significant impact when it takes effect in six months, greatly reducing the estimated 67 millionplastic bags residents use annually. Eugene joins Portland and Corvallis in banning plastic checkout bags.

Altogether, Oregonians use approximately 1.7 billion plastic bags each year, and too many of them end up as litter in our ocean. Today, there are 100 million tons of trash in the North Pacific Gyre; in some parts of the Pacific, plastic outweighs plankton 6 to 1.

{Click here for the full article.}

Construct A Rain Barrel at Mobile Workshop

Future rain barrels

Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant, in partnership with the Coastal Alabama Clean Water Partnership and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, will hold a rain barrel workshop from 10 a.m.-noon on Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Jon Archer Ag Center, 1070 Schillinger Road N, in Mobile.

Workshop participants will learn about important water quality and conservation issues and practical measures they can take to reduce their impact on coastal Alabama’s water resources. During the workshop, they will construct a rain barrel that will allow them to harvest rainwater for gardens, landscaping or other uses. They also will learn how to install the rain barrels at their homes.

To attend the workshop, interested individuals must pre-register with the Auburn University Marine Extension and Research Center office by Wednesday, Oct. 17.The registration fee for the workshop is $40 and includes all materials required to construct a rain barrel.

For more information or to register, contact Christian Miller, extension specialist with Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant and the Auburn University Marine Extension and Research Center, at 251-438-5690 or Christian@auburn.edu.

More information about rain barrels and water conservation.

Ikea store in Bloomington (Minnesota) has gone solar

Way to go, IKEA! Thanks for being a corporate leader in the world of solar power. We’re excited to see who will be next!

Article by: Minneapolis Star Tribune  –  Updated: August 28, 2012 – 8:25 PM

The Swedish furniture chain said the Bloomington system can power the equivalent of 100 homes each year.

Swedish furniture retailer Ikea is now generating electricity atop its store in Bloomington near the Mall of America.

Depending on sunshine, the 142,000 square feet of solar panels will generate up to 80 percent of the store’s electrical needs, Ikea spokeswoman Brooke Nelson said Tuesday.

The 1-megawatt system is the largest solar array in Minnesota. It generates the equivalent of the power needed by 100 homes, or roughly the output of one small wind turbine.

The Bloomington store marks the 31st U.S. solar project for Ikea, with eight more locations in development. The company said it has invested $590 million in renewable energy projects around the world.

SoCore Energy, based in Chicago, designed the system for the Bloomington store.

Unlike some large solar arrays, Ikea’s won’t sell excess electricity back to the local utility, Nelson said.

It’s unlikely to remain the largest in Minnesota for long. A 2-megawatt project near Slayton, Minn., is slated to begin construction next month, said Chris Little, development director for Ecos Energy, the project’s sponsor.

STAFF REPORT

Read the original article here: http://www.startribune.com/business/167680535.html?refer=y

Fuel Efficiency Driving Onshoring | Roland Hwang’s Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC

Fuel Efficiency Driving Onshoring | Roland Hwang’s Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC.

Lost in the current debate about “offshoring” is the remarkable story of the “onshoring” of fuel-efficiency manufacturing.  Thanks in large part to stronger standards, American drivers no longer have to buy foreign if they want to trade in their gas guzzler for gas sippers. Fuel-efficiency is driving sales and jobs growth in the auto industry.  And as demand grows, so does the business case to make fuel efficient cars and components in America.

Hybrid productions exemplify this trend.  With U.S. hybrid sales booming (up 63% this year), Toyota and Honda are bringing production to the U.S.  Most recently, Honda Motor Co. plans to invest $40 million and bring all global Civic Hybrid manufacturing to its Greensburg, Indiana manufacturing plant from Japan, creating 300 jobs by the end of the year.

Earlier this year, Toyota announced it would bring production of its Highlander mid-size SUV, including the Highlander Hybrid, to its Princeton, Indiana plant from its current plant in Japan.  The move to expand capacity represents an investment of $400 million and will add another 400 jobs.  Furthermore, Toyota plans to begin producing the Prius hybrid in the U.S. by 2015, bringing production inshore from Japan to a yet-to-be specified plant.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

mobilebaykeeper:

Have you ever been to Jamba Juice? Where I grew up they made the best fruit smoothie in town. Congratulations to Mia Hansen for her successful petition, and a big shout-out to Jamba Juice for pledging to eliminate their styrofoam cups by 2013! I’m looking forward to enjoying a healthy smoothie in a green cup soon.

Originally posted on Grist:

Photo courtesy of Mia and Sara Hansen .

As far as I’m concerned, if they ever market a one-size-fits-all People Chow like they do for pets, it should basically be smoothies. But it’s asinine that smoothie company Jamba Juice, which bills its product as healthy and natural, serves your People Chow in an Earth-unfriendly giant styrofoam cup. Ten-year-old Mia Hansen thought so too, so she started a Change.org petition to get the chain to stop using styrofoam — and it worked. Mia collected over 130,000 signatures, and Jamba Juice agreed to phase out styrofoam by 2013.

View original 166 more words

New Tool Can Help Paper Buyers Measure Environmental Impact of Paper Usage

Reblogged from: EcoWatch

The Environmental Paper Network has released a new version of the Paper Calculator to better assist paper buyers with measuring the environmental impact of their paper usage and shifting to paper that supports climate and endangered forest protection.

The Paper Calculator is the original and most independent paper life-cycle impact estimator available. The improvements make the Paper Calculator easier to use, and include updated industry data and technical input from diverse stakeholders. The Paper Calculator is made available to users for free by the Environmental Paper Network thanks to its coalition members, supporters and through Power User premium sponsorships.

The original analytical model for the Paper Calculator was developed by Environmental Defense Fund based on research by the multi-stakeholder Paper Task Force. In 2011, ownership of the Paper Calculator was transferred to the Environmental Paper Network. Today, the Paper Calculator is utilized by more than 50,000 users per year and appears on millions of pieces of environmentally improved paper products from companies such as Office Depot, Sprint and Starbucks.

The key improvements in version 3.2 include:

  • More completely capturing the life-cycle water use of both recycled and virgin fiber based on consultation with industry associations and life cycle experts
  • Updated national average data on mill performance
  • Calculates the environmental savings of both post-consumer and pre-consumer recycled content
  • Updated decomposition rates for each of the paper grades based on new data

The Paper Calculator is committed to independence and transparency, and a detailed documentation of the Paper Calculator version 3.2 methodology can be found by clicking here.

The Environmental Paper Network also recently introduced the Power User premium sponsorship program, which offers additional features and technical support. The program’s inaugural members include respected NGOs and business leaders including New Leaf Paper, Office Depot, Hemlock Printers, Computershare, Staples, GreenerPrinter, FutureMark Paper and Friesens Corporation.

The Environmental Paper Network is a coalition of non-profit organizations working together to protect the earth’s climate and endangered forests by transforming the production and consumption of paper products. The Steering Committee of the Environmental Paper Network is CanopyClimate for IdeasConservatreeDogwood AllianceForestEthicsGreen AmericaGreen Press InitiativeNatural Resources Council of MaineNational Wildlife Federation and Rainforest Action Network.

Visit the new Paper Calculator today by clicking here.