Friday, August 3, 2007

Summer Quarter Woes


There may be a lot of green outside during the Summer, such as the grass and the leaves on the trees, but it's very hard to see those beautiful things when you're cooped up in a University classroom staring at old professors and taking notes on otherwise boring material. However, this is my reality. As such, I must unfortunately place a hold on my blogging about green things until the current quarter is over. Rest assured that once I have finished taking all of my finals, I will be back in full swing. Until then, thank you so much for reading, and once I post again I will be making an important announcement. I will still be able to receive comments on my posts and will most likely respond to those, so take a look at the archives if you're new with us.


Thank you again & see you in late September.


~ The Green Blog

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Is Harry Potter Green?

He very well may be. In fact, much of the magic world he lives in is also green. While using magic their wands create no waste products, there is no dependency on foreign oil because their brooms are the ultimate form of alternative energy transportation...way alternative, and they care enough about the planet to protect it with jinxes and charms. Good thing too because Voldemort just announced that he wanted to implement a GHG production plant (the evilness is astounding). Not to mention that I heard that they were making Hogwarts and The Ministry of Magic go carbon neutral by installing solar panels and wind turbines...okay okay, I made those last parts up, but it's something that the wizarding world would do.

Anyway...let's learn some lessons that the wizarding world of Harry Potter is teaching us...like developing broomstick mass transit. That should be comfortable. :)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A View From Above


A good friend of mine is a pilot and asked me the other day if I would like to go up with him for a quick flight over the city and surrounding rural area. It was a beautiful sight. The sun was shining brightly, and there were only a few clouds in the blue sky. There was high visibility and little air traffic. The perfect day for a flight.


While the two of us were in the air I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the earth. There is so much green that covers the world, and as I was looking over the area I thought about how tragic it would be to lose it. There is just so much to work for. With the promise that renewable forms of energy bring, we never have to worry about losing it to harness fossil fuels or to pollution.


Next time your in the air on a flight, on the top of a mountain, or looking out from your 15th floor office window, look down on the world and appreciate it. Look down and think about how you can do something to protect it.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Live Earth Rocks!


I just think that there is no problem at all with the "Live Earth" tour. Does it create some carbon emissions? Yes, but so does breathing. That doesn't mean that I condone useless or unimportant GHG emissions (breathing isn't without import), but the "Live Earth" tour is not useless OR unimportant. It is quite the opposite indeed!


I guess I think it's okay because what the entire show is about world-wide is the furthering and spreading forth of global warming education to the masses. A concert medium is an appropiate and effective way to appeal to a younger audience, which is the demographic we really need to educate if you think about it. All should be educated wherever possible, of course, but many of the decision makers that will make some of the most important decisions regarding our planet are attending classes right now, even as we speak...or type for that matter.


So go ahead and buy a ticket if you live near one of the tour venues. Enjoy some good music, good times, and good education that will most likely move you to action. Live Earth Rocks!!!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Global Cooling?...no way.

Global Cooling was a scientific theory in the 1970's that claimed that we would soon dive into another ice age due to extreme temperature patterns favoring cooler days, and that it would be preceded by and made manifest by a dire food shortage that covered the entire Earth.
"Predictions of global cooling never approached the kind of widespread scientific consensus that supports the greenhouse effect today. And for good reason: the tools scientists have at their disposal now—vastly more data, incomparably faster computers and infinitely more sophisticated mathematical models—render any forecasts from 1975 as inoperative as the predictions being made around the same time about the inevitable triumph of communism."
~ William Connolley, a climate scientist at the British Antarctic Survey who has made a hobby of studying ice age predictions.

The scientific methods that we now have are much more accurate and dependable than they were 35 years ago. Global Warming is a real phenomenon and needs our immediate attention and action.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Red, White, Blue, And Green


There are some things you can do to make your 4th of July green, as well as red, white, and blue.


If every American household bought a pack of 40 recycled paper plates instead of buying and using ones that aren't recycled, we would save over 450,000 trees a year, making it a very important decision. So make that important switch a part of your Independence Day.

By utilizing reusable kitchenware, such as 'Tupperware' or 'Gladware', we reduce the amount of trash produced, thereby making a less noticeable impact on landfills and trash heaps. You can also save money by doing this because now you won't have to buy disposable plates or bowls.

Don't forget the recycled napkins as well if you must buy some. These items are all realistically attainable because they sell them at most supermarkets, just look carefully at the labels.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Random Rant #1


I suppose I just don't understand why there is not a more distinctively noticeable push for alternative and renewable energy sources among business. In a conversation I had with a recent veteran who worked out west in California, there was talk of obvious and blatant savings that firms could procure from simply making an investment into some type of renewable energy source to power their plants, offices, and warehouses. Furthermore, the state government in California is offering some mighty tasty incentives for companies who are willing and brave enough to make the switch. So why aren't we seeing more switches?!

It makes me wonder just how strong the oil/gas lobby is. By gas I mean gasoline, of course. Breaking it down like a fraction makes it look pretty simple. Initial investment into a change of energy that would derive from renewable sources costs initial capital. However, with state incentives and write-offs on your side, the promise of reduced energy costs in the future, and the "feel good" factor filtering its way from the top all the way down to the consumer, why is this not a "no-brainer"?


picture source: User: Lan56, Wikipedia Commons

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Al Gore Goes All Out...Finally!


Al Gore has been “greening” his house for a while now. He started by adding solar panels to his roof, and replacing his light bulbs with CFL’s. Then he started replacing the windows with energy efficient ones. He’s also replacing the duct-work and installing a rainwater collection system to help with the irrigation and hydration of his acreage. To help with the energy costs of heating his pool he is implementing a geo-thermal heating unit.

Al Gore said in an interview with the AP, “This plan has been in the works for a long time. The only thing that has changed is that we’re more public about it because of the misleading attack by a global-warming denier group.” Toward the beginning of the year, many conservative factions gave Gore a tough criticizing by comparing his electric bill to surrounding large homes and showed that what he paid every month was much more than the average homeowner paid. Electric company records proved that the Gore’s paid an average of roughly $1,180 in energy costs per month last year. His home is 10,000 square feet.
Al will be keeping busy over the next few weeks by solidifying concert dates and venues for the Live Earth tour. Istanbul, Turkey is supposedly next to hop on board as a destination for the seven-continent music tour.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Paper or Plastic?...How About Neither


Following the example of San Fransisco could be a life saver...for trees and oil that is. They have recently passed a law that prohibits grocery stores and other establishments from putting their products into plastic bags for their customers. As of yet they are the only metropolis in the country to have passed this type of legislation. In the United States of America 12 million barrels of oil and 14 million tress go into the production of paper and plastic bags each year. These are valuable resources that we need to create energy for our homes and cars, and to keep the levels of carbon dioxide from getting even higher. Given, the use of oil for fuel creates GHG emissions, but if it must be pulled out of the ground it should at least go toward powering the things we need, not the things we don't...things like plastic bags.
A simple solution: We sometimes don't mind paying a little extra for convenience in this country, which is why this concept can seem so absurd to some, but buying canvass bags that are large enough and durable and bringing them to the store with us when we shop is an easy way to greatly lessen the demand for paper and plastic grocery bags. Of course, doing this may save precious trees and conserve an additional 12 million barrels of oil. It's personal green accountability at its finest.


Picture source:www.midamericanenergy.com

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Conversation About Global Warming

The following is a short conversation I had with a person regarding global warming as a legitimate issue:

"I suggest that you try to understand the actual data that the global warming scare is based upon. It is really hard to come by since the proponents of GW are mostly politicians and scientists whose livelihood depend on promoting the fear. I suggest that one read Michael Crichton's 'State of Fear'. It's a fun read and in the back of that book are many references to the pros and cons of environmental activism. One of the best, although a challenge for the lay person, is Professor Aaron Wildavsky's 'But Is It True'. We need to get past the paranoia and decide whether this is a problem that a) really needs our attention, b) we can actually control, or c) is just a quest for power by politicians. Stop trusting the mass media, they have no facts."
- Anon


I resonded:
"No facts?!?! The people that turn a blind eye to the science behind global warming do it because they either don't understand it or they don't want to get off the lazy-boy and do something. I admit that taking contributing action is not as easy as it sounds because it takes a certain level of creativity and non-linear thinking, nevertheless the science world as a near whole has accepted our (human beings) contribution to GHG emissions as dangerous and climate altering. I personally look at data, not novels or books written with a bias by a single person. 'State of Fear' is actually next on my reading list. I know he has researched a lot and I look forward to seeing all of it, but the scientific community is where I hang my hat on this issue."
- The Green Blog

Monday, June 18, 2007

Time Magazines Tip #23: Copy California


Arnold Schwarzenegger may have signed the world's toughest anti-global-warming law, but it is Democrat Terry Tamminen, his environmental adviser, who is emerging as the state's real Terminator, winning industry support and the endorsement of a Republican Governor for a mandate to reduce the state's emissions 80% by 2050.

But thwarting climate change isn't a solo effort. Tamminen left his official post to build a national response to global warming one state at a time. "I am trying to Johnny Appleseed what California has done," Tamminen says. His goal is to create a de facto national climate plan out of individual efforts in the 50 states. "He is crisscrossing the country and spreading the word," says Karl Hausker, deputy director of the Center for Climate Strategies. "Terry gets state leaders interested in doing this." Hausker's nonpartisan, nonprofit group handles the technical details after Tamminen plants his seeds. Nineteen states have developed or are developing aggressive climate plans based on the work of Hausker's group and Tamminen. So much progress is being made at the state and regional level, Tamminen says, that "by the time that there is a new Administration in the White House, a majority of Americans will live in states with a meaningful plan that deals with the climate-change issue."


Source: Time Magazine; April 9th, 2007 issue

Saturday, June 16, 2007

No Impact Man is an Inspiration


Here is a guy who lives in NYC and has made giant changes in his life in order to minimize his carbon footprint. He is living in a way that eliminates his net impact on the environment. There is a difference between no impact and net impact. Day to day we each have an impact in some way. Generally it's in things we do everyday without thought; things such as keeping our refrigerators or computers running all day, washing our clothes with the washer and dryer, and even riding an elevator. Those types of activities have impact, however, when we take into account the offsetting we do when we recycle, plant trees, or donate to alternative energy funds or carbon neutrality funds, we offset those carbon contributions we have made by working to eliminate carbon and GHG emissions.
Colin Beavan is "No Impact Man". He has a very interesting website that you can visit by clicking on the link located on the right side of this blog page where it says No Impact Man.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Discovery Channel Special

There was a special on the Discovery channel last Sunday about alternative energy and technologies that can bring it about. I was surprised when I heard the facts about some of the everyday things we use for energy regarding their power.

I learned that the sun and the energy it produces is equivalent to 77 million atomic bombs going off every second. I also learned that it takes 1,120 lbs. of coal energy to keep just one standard home computer powered for a year. I learned more about hydro-gas and the benefits that it can bring when other fossil fuels run out, and even though it's methane and its pollutants are very harmful to the atmosphere and eco-system, they are not planning to use it until they've figured out a way to capture its harmful GHG's from escaping into the sky. And harvesting it looked so cool! At the deepest depths of the ocean, were only a few life forms exist is where they find these solidified gas rocks, capture them, and store them for future use. They say that there is enough hydro-gas (solid methane) in the oceans to power the entire planet for over a hundred years.

Interesting how alternative sources of energy are all around us just waiting to be used. These are energy sources that we've had on this planet since the dawn of time; Water, wind, solar...that's just to name a few that we are just now starting to understand and appreciate as a global population. Do what you can to educate those who don't now understand the sense of urgency we are dealing with.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Butanol: The Next Generation Bio-Fuel


Although the science behind this newly found bio-fuel is not fully complete and ready to implement, butanol leaves us with a hope greater than that of ethanol.
But what is butanol? When speaking of it as a bio-fuel, it is an alchol based fuel that, at 85% strength, can be used without any changes to many engines, unlike ethanol. Butanol fuel is produced from fermentation of biomass. Essentially rotting bio-materials can be converted into butanol.

It’s imagery that causes us to reflect on a mad scientist named Doc Brown from a movie called Back To The Future. We see a frazzled man with interesting sunglasses from the future that was dumping trash into his Delorean engine to produce fuel. Just exclude the aluminum cans and plastics, and keep the banana peels, rotting foods, and plants, and we’re not far from a butanol powered engine.
When compared to ethanol, butanol is less corrosive, more sutable for distrubution through existing gasoline pipe-lines, and has more energy available to burn. Although there are no automobiles in production right now that are ready for butanol, it is concievable that we could see more ink about this new fuel in the near future.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Yahoo!'s Top Ten Greenest Cities


The following are the top ten "greenest" cities according to an ongoing research project being conducted by Yahoo!.
1: Pelzer, SC
2: Hastings, NE
3: San Carlos, CA
4: Mill Valley, CA
5: Topeka, KS
6: Dover, DE
7: Spring, TX

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

"Ecare" Alternative Energy Fair

At St. Francis University, Loretto in Somerset, PA something special is happening this weekend. Something that will hopefully create a trend in cities nationwide. We're talking about an Alternative Energy fair. An exhibit that is dedicated to the use of alternative energy driven products and services.
Some of the exhibitors will have vegetable oil-diesel conversion samples on display, as well as other small scale bio-diesel demonstrations available to the public.
It's not just the average customer their looking to sell to, although they will certainly sell to whomever will buy, but they are also in the market for businesses who will either install, buy, or market their technologies.
During the Fair there will be seminars and presentations about how bio-fuels work, what their advantges are, and how other alternative energies may be implemented. This is to inform the public about the technologies and products that will be featured at the expo.
There is a fee to gain entry, and it will be open to the public this Saturday from 8am to 8pm, and on Sunday from 9am to 5pm. For more information visit www.ecarefair.com.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Alternative Energy Market Survey




They have done it again. About 450 alternative energy industry big-wigs complete a survey every year that gives us details regarding what kind of profitability alternative energy companies can expect from producing or distributing items such as wind turbines, solar panels, and even research and development. It's sort of a grand council of all the industry leaders to see where this growing market is expected to go.
And the forecast is good. The biggest, and prbobably the most substantial figure is simply the annual projected revenue growth. In 2005 the expected revenue was to be 74% more than in 2004. In 2006 it was projected to be 77% greater than 2005, and now 2007 is projected to be 83% higher than 2006 profits.
The report also indicates that governments on every level from federal to local will be a key factor in furthering the industry. It also suggests that these governments in general are in favor of implementing renewable evergy sources by passing important legislastion. Tax credits will be the tool they will most likely use to encourage alternative energy companies to grow.
According to the report biofuels and wind energy will continue to lead to pack until 2012 partly because biofuels are just about in full swing, and wind energy seems to be the most economical mass scale renewable source of energy we can institute as of yet.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Time Magazines Tips for being green # 17


Most of the 25 tons of CO2 emissions each American is responsible for each year come from the home. Here are some easy ways to get that number down in a hurry without rebuilding. Open a window instead of running the AC. Adjust the thermostat a couple of degrees higher in the summer and lower in the winter. Caulk and weatherstrip all your doors and windows. Insulate your walls and ceilings. Use the dishwasher only when it's full. Install low-flow showerheads. Wash your clothes in warm or cold water. Turn down the thermostat on the water heater. At the end of the year, don't be surprised if your house feels lighter. It just lost 4,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide.




Source: Time Magazine, April 9th 2007 issue

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Exxon to Discuss Alternative Energy


Today the shareholders at Exxon Mobile meet to discuss the future of their investments into the development of alternative energy sources. Of course, company management does not think it to be a profitable endeavor and will discourage shareholders from proposing such investments, citing them as unprofitable and unnecessary.

In it’s yearly proxy statement Exxon said “The corporation’s traditional business areas remain critical and promise far greater value than renewables, which currently lack the scale and economic competitiveness of our core business opportunities”. It makes sense that a company that specializes in fossil fuel production and distribution would make this statement, but the portion regarding the scale and economic competitiveness is somewhat true, unfortunately. The possibility that Exxon’s shareholders could decide to invest in more R&D would be a monumental business move in the green direction, but still looks unlikely. It’s just progressive that they’re even bringing it up at the meeting!

With over $300 billion in sales in 2006 and record profits in the last quarter of 2006, Exxon mobile has the revenue and means to research and develop many types of alternative energy…so here’s hoping the shareholders think of the world as well as their pocketbooks.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Energy Refuge on Ethanol

I was just hired by this alternative energy website to do some blogging for them. So here is some information that they have provided regarding ethanol:
"During a time when gasoline and ethanol prices are already so high, refueling more often can become very costly. Another issue is that e85 ethanol gas stations are not that prevalent. Of the 176,000 gas stations in the country, only about 800 sell E85. Until more ethanol stations spring up, people would have to map routes when traveling, just so they could refuel. The head of market development at the American Coalition for Ethanol, Ron Lamberty says, "If you're concerned about emissions, you should use E85. If you want to make sure the money you spend is circulated through the American economy rather than some South American or Middle Eastern country, the choice is E85."
So where does the average American who purchases an ethanol friendly SUV stand? Why go through the heartache and extra troubles? Is it really worth it? Hmmm...It is better for the environment, it can always be filled with regular gasoline, and it is renewable. Works for me!"


Source: http://www.energyrefuge.com/archives/ethanol_reduces_mpg.htm, 2007

Friday, May 25, 2007

Essay By Luke DiTomas

Here is an excerpt from an essay by college student Luke DiTomas at The Ohio State University:

"Due to budget constraints, the government is only able to contribute a mere $150 million to the research and development of ethanol based fuels, which is hardly enough to revolutionize a multibillion-dollar energy market. Private sector investors, Virgin Group's Richard Branson, and technology guru Vinod Khosla have made substantial contributions because they see the possibility of an ethanol boom similar to the one in Brazil. Our government had set these goals of reducing the amount of imported oil, but isn’t providing nearly enough funding in order to reach these goals. The government must re-think their budgeting restraint on this because a revolution of this magnitude would have a much larger affect on our economy than just decreasing our need of oil. Struggling U.S. auto manufactures have a competitive advantage over foreign auto makers on flex-fuel vehicles. Foreign auto makers are skeptical on ethanol vehicles due to the large amounts of water and land needed to produce the necessary amount of corn. This is the spark that U.S. auto companies need to regain their dominance in the U.S. auto industry. The results of this would be seen in other industries as well. The distribution side of this would need substantial growth to meet the demands of the new fuel. The demand of corn, wheat and plant stalks would increase, which would only mean more growth in the agricultural industry. The growth of all these industries would mean a lower unemployment rate due to increases in workers needed to meet the requirements, and a larger GDP due to the expansion of multiple industries within the country."

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Time Magazine Tip #14


Ride The Bus!


With transport accounting for more than 30% of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, one of the best ways to reduce them is by riding something many of us haven't tried since the ninth grade: a bus. Public transit saves an estimated 1.4 billion gal. of gas annually, which translates into about 14 million tons of CO2, according to the American Public Transportation Association. Unfortunately, 88% of all trips in the U.S. are by car. Partly, that's because public transportation is more readily available in big urban areas. One promising alternative is bus rapid transit (BRT), which features extra-long carriers running in dedicated lanes. Buses emit more carbon than trains, but that can be minimized by using hybrid or compressed-natural-gas engines. A study last year by the Breakthrough Technologies Institute found that a BRT system in a medium-size U.S. city could cut emissions by as much as 654,000 tons over 20 years.
Thanks to high gas prices, miles driven per motorist dropped in 2005 for the first time since 1980, according to the Pew Research Center. The U.S. is ready to change. We're just waiting for the bus.



Source: Time Magazine, April 9th, 2007

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Winston Churchill Quote

"The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period pf consequences."

~ Sir Winston Churchill

Wasn't he inspired when he said this? This is also used in An Inconvenient Truth to signify the turning point in human history where we would start to reap what we have sown.

This quote has been posted, not to deter or discourage, but to motivate and inspire to action.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Be A Voice

Al Gore, in his documentary An Inconvenient Truth, talks about people going from denial straight to despair while skipping the most important phase of all; moving to ACTION!

If you are a recent convert to the ideology of Global Warming as a moral issue, there is way too much to be done right now that this relatively small, new community needs you to act. There are a variety of people who may subscribe to the passive thought that global warming is real, but these same luke-warm people decide not to change anything about the way they live. I am not a person with excessive means by any sort, though in spite of my near poverty, I have made changes in my life that make me say "You know, even though I had to sacrifice to make this important change in my life, I know I did the right thing."

Doing the right thing propels us into the productive and rewarding future otherwise unseen by the content and complacent eyes.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Carbon Offsetting


Essentially this picture describes what it really means to offset carbon emissions. When carbon and other atmospheric pollutants enter the air they thicken the atmosphere. What this does is traps infrared heat within our atmosphere in amounts that are higher than normal. Increased infrared energy leads to increased average tempratures throughout the globe and especially at the poles. This is the basic concept on global warming.
What to do?
Offset our carbon output, or better yet, neutralize it. By becoming carbon neutral we allow the atmosphere to heal and over time we can reverse the global warming damage we have already caused. That's why everyone needs to get involved. Take a stand. Move to action.
Because we only have one earth, we must not fail.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Time Magazine's tip #3: "Change Your Lightbulbs"




Embrace the compact flourescent lamps (CFL's) and ditch the incandescent bulbs. These swirly little glowers give more light with less energy. A CFL of 26 watts equates to your standard 100 watt bulb.

These CFL's use only one quarter of the electricity and last several years longer than incandescent bulbs. But because they contain 5 mg of mercury, you can't throw them out with the rest of the garbage. Instead you should recycle them properly. Even though this is a small scale way to reduce your carbon footprint, if half the country made the switch, we could offset 20,600,000 TONS of carbon emissions per year. That equals 41,250,000,000 pounds of pollutants!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Wind Energy







According to the AWEA (American Wind Energy Association), the number of wind energy turbines (windmills) are at an all time high.

At Yale University a study was conducted by AWEA and they concluded that 9 out of 10 Americans would like more wind energy now.

A single 1.5 MW turbine offsets 13 tons of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, and more than 1,800 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year. Imagine what we can do with hundreds of these turbines.

Wind energy is a completely renewable energy source that can really affect our carbon footprint for the better. They are a bit expensive right now, but one must prioritize when it comes to the future of our only home, the planet Earth.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth


I saw the documentary An Inconvenient Truth for the first time yesterday and it affected me greatly. I was impressed with the science and research that Al Gore has done and look forward to watching it again.

I was aware of the possibilities that were in front of us, but I never knew the severity of the situation with Global Warming until he showed the science regarding the past, the levels of carbon, and the temperture trends. I am left wondering what can be done.

All that's really left is to take steps to individually change our nation's carbon footprint, and then the world's. This can only be done if there is a paradigm shift in this country, seeing as how we lead the world in carbon emmisions per capita.

Any ideas how to continue the trend Al Gore has started?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Time Magazine


Time magazine came out with an issue that was a special double issue about carbon neutrality. In it there are 51 things we can do to help reduce carbon emmisions and make our planet safer in the name of longevity. As blogmaster I will post some of these findings from Time magazine periodocally (no pun intended).



Monday, May 14, 2007

The Green Blog

Welcome all Green Bloggers. Here is a chance to speak out about how to make the Earth a greener place.

With our addiction to oil and our unfortunate dependency on it, we must develope AND IMPLEMENT plans to change. We need cleaner fuel sources, carbon neutral industry, and "green" focused research and development.

We are seeing an increase in popularity regarding environmentally concious actions. Pepsi just announced that they are going carbon neutral with all aspects of their entire operation, Walmart is working on a chain of green supercenters (which they have already started), and restraunts are coming up with detailed plans for serving carbon neutral diet foods.

Our goal as a blog is to share thoughts and ideas about what one can do to make their world a little greener, and how to motivate and influence others to take the necessary actions to save this oil thirsty world from itself.