Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Climate Ride Midwest: September 6-9

Thursday, July 17th, 2014 by

In September, Climate Ride will be hosting their first-ever ride through the midwest. Climate Ride is a nonprofit organization that raises awareness for sustainability, active transportation, and other environmental causes with various bike ride fundraisers across the country. Starting in Grand Rapids, Michigan, this ride will wind its way along Lake Michigan, through the states of Michigan, Indiana and Illinois, coming to an end in Chicago. With Climate Ride carefully planning out the details of the route and the accommodations, participants simply have to focus on the riding portion. At 60-80 miles of riding per day, this ride will be a challenging, exhilarating way to contribute to a great cause.

For those who wish to participate in the ride or simply donate to the cause, visit the climate ride website. Each rider must raise at least $2800 by August 29 to secure their spot, along with paying the $100 registration fee. Spots are filling up quickly so register soon!

You can also follow the fundraiser progress on the website, to see how much has already been raised and how close the participants are to their goals.

Brewers For Clean Water

Monday, July 7th, 2014 by

With water being the main ingredient in beer, having clean water is crucial to the brewing process. Not only can the slightest of impurities throw off the flavor of the batch tremendously, but it can also become a health concern. Dozens of craft brewers, many of which rely on water from the Great Lakes, launched a campaign last year with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), advocating for the strengthening of water quality policies. Attempts to lower the regulations on water in recent years has not only put the beer industry in jeopardy, but also threatens public health for many other industries. Watch this video to hear from the participating breweries about the campaign.

The campaign also has created a Facebook page to keep supporters informed of all updates regarding the campaign. From hosting sustainability talks with the breweries to creating petitions to be sent to the EPA, those who wish to support the campaign will find everything they need to become a part of the cause.

For more information and a complete list of local breweries involved in the campaign, visit the NRDC website.

To learn more about sustainability in other food processing industries, please visit the GLRPPR Sector Resource for Food Processing.

GLREA holds Michigan Energy Fair June 27-28, 2014

Monday, June 9th, 2014 by

The Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association (GLREA) is holding their 14th statewide energy fair on June 27-28 at the Ingham County Fairgrounds in Mason, MI. The 2014 Michigan Energy Fair will offer countless workshops to promote sustainable energy policies, technologies and projects to businesses and the community in the area. A complete schedule of workshops can be found here. Friday, June 27th will be geared towards professional attendees, such as facility managers, engineers, and educators, while Saturday will focus on the general public who may be interested in attending and learning more about renewable energy as a form of pollution prevention.

If you are interested in preparing an exhibit for the fair, it is not too late the register! For more information on how to register, please visit the registration page.

Sustainability Awareness Promoted by Major Music Festivals in the Great Lakes Region

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 by

The days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer, and music festival season is rapidly approaching. Every year, music festivals across the country attract hundreds of thousands of music enthusiasts. Many of these festivals are taking action to become more sustainable and encouraging their attendees to do so as well.

Summer Camp Music Festival – Chillicothe, IL – May 23-25, 2014

Summer Camp Music Festival has a team of volunteers that help collect and sort trash, as well as educate festival attendees about the recycling and composting programs that are offered. With color coded trash bins and portable recycling bags, Summer Camp makes it easy for fans to help keep the festival clean. Moreover, the festival requires that all vendors use compostable materials, greatly limiting the amount of trash that ends up in a landfill.

Every year, Summer Camp brings in numerous nonprofit organizations to promote sustainability, renewable energy, and carbon offsetting amongst the festival-goers. Attendees learn about many different ways that they can lower their impact on the environment, even after the festival is over.

Working with engineers at Caterpillar, Summer Camp has been able to use a higher concentration of biodiesel in their generators for all electricity needs, which significantly lowers their use of traditional energy sources. For the past three years, the festival tracked and offset their estimated CO2 emissions to reduced their environmental footprint.

To learn more about this eco-friendly festival’s sustainability initiatives, visit the Summer Camp Music Festival website.

Pitchfork Music Festival – Chicago, IL – July 18-20, 2014 

Through recycling programs, purchasing carbon offsets, and using sustainable power, Pitchfork Music Festival takes responsibility for their environmental impact, and acknowledges the importance of encouraging their fans to participate in the efforts to become a clean, green festival.

Recycling crews work with vendors to separate the trash generated at the festival, sending food waste to composting facilities and recycling as much as possible. Additionally, the festival has reduced oil demand and carbon emissions by powering the festival entirely with biodiesel and using hybrid vehicles for festival and musician transport. Pitchfork understands that being an international music festival creates the need for a lot of travel, which is why the festival has decided to buy carbon offsets to cover the transportation of all of their musicians. Purchasing these carbon offsets help fund projects to reduce CO2 emissions, so the festival strongly encourages attendees to purchase their own as well.

Visit the Pitchfork website for more information.

Lollapalooza – Chicago, IL – August 1-3, 2014

Lollapalooza is constantly seeking new, eco-friendly businesses to join the ‘Green Street Art Market’. Local businesses, as well as artisans from across the globe, are encouraged to promote their environmentally responsible goods to the thousands of fans that walk by throughout the weekend.

For the past few years, Lollapalooza has partnered with Camelbak to provide free, ice cold water to festival-goers at several filling stations throughout the park. This encourages the use of reusable water bottles and hydration packs and prevents up to 3.2 million disposable water bottles from becoming waste at the end of the 3-day festival. Lollapalooza also has hundreds of recycling bins located throughout the entire park, many of which are accompanied by a volunteer to inform people of what types of trash should be discarded into each container.

The festival implemented these programs not only to prevent the festival from causing harm to the environment and promote environmental awareness, but also to encourage volunteers from the Chicagoland area to be a part of the Environmental Initiatives programs. The application will become available mid-May, so check the volunteer information section of the FAQ page often throughout May because positions fill up quickly!

More information about the festival can be found on the Lollapalooza website.

October is Children’s Health Month

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013 by

EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment requires that they continue to pay special attention to the vulnerabilities of children, and especially to children living in disadvantaged communities. Children are more affected by pollution than adults for many reasons. They are smaller, their organ systems are still developing, and their play and learning behaviors expose them to additional environmental threats.

In October and throughout the year, EPA will work with parents, teachers, and health providers to promote healthy environments where children live, learn and play.

There are events planned throughout children’s health month to promote healthy environments for children. There is also a wealth of information to explain and promote the reduction and elimination of harmful exposures in terms that are easy to understand. To learn more children’s environmental health, visit The Office of Children’s Health Protection website.

More on CH Month can be found at http://yosemite.epa.gov/ochp/ochpweb.nsf/content/chm-home.htm.

P2 Pathways is now P2 Impact

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013 by

P2 ImpactAs part of Pollution Prevention Week 2013, the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx) announces that it has changed the name of its popular GreenBiz Column to P2 Impact. The name change reflects a content refocus towards a mainstream business audience. The column gives insights into greening of business processes, operation or technologies; and case studies and best business practices with respect to P2 and sustainability.

Our first author for the newly branded column is Richard Yoder, PE, SFP. Rick is the founder of the Pollution Prevention Regional Information Center (P2RIC), which operates from the Nebraska Business Development Center and serves Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. His article discusses a national survey that identifies the sectors, jobs and counties reporting higher rates of pro-environmental activities. See greenbiz.com/business/engage/enterprise-blogs/p2-pathways.

This year’s P2 Week theme is P2 at the Crossroads. P2 Week is the time when businesses, environmental groups and citizens can join forces for a common cause. By sharing information about pollution prevention (P2), businesses become more competitive, realize cost savings, and improve the environment.

Report demonstrates over $1.1 billion in economic benefits from P2 in Region 5

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013 by

A Cornerstone of Environmental Sustainability: Pollution Prevention Results from 2007 to 2009 presents available information on the achievements of state and local P2 programs for the calendar years 2007 to 2009. The Report was produced by the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR) based upon the results shared by 90 pollution prevention (P2) programs in the United States.

The Report shows that nationally there were almost $6.6 billion in economic benefits and more than 7 billion pounds of pollution minimized or eliminated during the three year period.  7 billion pounds of waste is equivalent to the amount of waste generated by 350 thousand households, the approximate size of Columbus, Ohio.

In the Great Lakes states served by U.S. EPA Region 5, companies realized more than $1.1  billion in savings and 1.2 billion pounds of pollution minimized or eliminated.

This study affirms that pollution prevention results in conservation of valuable resources and significant waste reductions, as well cost savings that were four times greater than the funds used to support the various P2 programs.

The Report is a product of the P2 Results Task Force, whose membership includes representatives from State P2 programs, EPA Headquarters and Regions, Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange Centers (P2Rx), as well as NPPR. The Task Force has developed a National Pollution Prevention Results Data System, (the System). The System aggregates data that is collected, managed, and synthesized by state and local P2 programs, non-profits, companies, and other organizations.

The Report documents additional benefits of P2 activities, including: approximately 16 billion gallons of water conserved; almost 2.5 billion kilowatt hours of reduced energy usage; more than 33 billion pounds of greenhouse gases (GHG) no longer being released into the atmosphere.

NPPR will be hosting a webinar on Thursday, February 21 at 2 ET to provide an overview of the report. Register for the webinar at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2030884086456328960.

To view the Report, go to http://www.p2.org/wp-content/uploads/p2-results-2007-9-final.pdf.

To submit your results or view results by region, visit http://www.p2rx.org/measurement/index.cfm.

EPA Opens Registration for Campus RainWorks Design Challenge Competition

Thursday, September 6th, 2012 by

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has opened registration for student teams from colleges and universities across the country to participate in its new design competition, the Campus RainWorks Challenge, through which teams will compete to develop innovative approaches to stormwater management. This first annual competition, will help raise awareness of green design and planning approaches at colleges and universities, and train the next generation of landscape architects, planners, and engineers in green infrastructure principles and design. Stormwater is a major cause of harmful water pollution in urban areas in the U.S., impacting tens of thousands of miles of rivers, streams, and coastal shorelines, as well as hundreds of thousands of acres of lakes, reservoirs, and ponds.

Student teams, working with a faculty advisor, will submit design plans for a proposed green infrastructure project for their campus. Registration for the Campus RainWorks Challenge is open from September 4 through October 5, and entries must be submitted by December 14, 2012 for consideration. Winning entries will be selected by EPA and announced in April 2013. Winning teams will earn a cash prize of $1,500 – $2,500, as well as $8,000 – $11,000 in funds for their faculty advisor to conduct research on green infrastructure. In 2013, EPA plans to expand Campus RainWorks by inviting students to design and complete a demonstration project assessing innovative green infrastructure approaches on their campus.

EPA is encouraging the use of green infrastructure as a solution to help manage stormwater runoff. Green Infrastructure uses vegetation, soils, and natural processes to manage stormwater runoff at its source and provide other community benefits. Green infrastructure is increasingly being used to supplement or substitute for single-purpose “gray” infrastructure investments such as pipes, and ponds. The Campus RainWorks Challenge will help encourage the use of green infrastructure projects on college and university campuses to manage stormwater discharges.

More information on the Campus RainWorks Challenge:
http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/greeninfrastructure/crw_challenge.cfm

New Research Pushes Back on the Rebound Discussion

Thursday, February 9th, 2012 by

The benefits of energy efficiency policies have been questioned by various media organizations and think tanks due to a phenomenon called the “Rebound Effect”, also known as Jevon’s Paradox.  The Rebound Effect is the idea that consumers and businesses have incentives to spend the money saved from energy efficient strategies on the same or other energy consuming products or services, paradoxically increasing energy use because of energy savings.  According to The Breakthrough Institute (BTI), macroeconomic Rebound Effect accounts for 30%-50% or more energy consumption and sometimes even greater than 100% (known as “backfire”) of the original amount of energy consumption saved.  Rebound raises questions about the impact that energy efficiency policies have on the total energy use in all industries.  If true, it has serious ramifications to the work being conducted to mitigate global GHG emissions and to the efforts of the Pollution Prevention (P2) community.

Last year several articles volleyed the value of Rebound – most notably The Rocky Mountain Institute, Joe Romm and others at Climate Progress in a response to the report by the The Breakthrough Institute.  This year, a report conducted by Shakeb Afsah, Kendyl Salcito and Chris Wielga at co2scorecard.org stirred the discussion once again, followed by an article on Grist.  The discussion provides the P2 community with a more nuanced understanding of the potential savings of source reduction recommendations and provides evidence to support efficiency strategies.

P2 professionals ought to consider a trip down the Rebound rabbit hole for several reasons.  First, the P2 community stays credible by staying engaged.  If one drills through the contentious nature of the Rebound blog posts, it’s clear that the arguments are not about whether Rebound occurs, but at what level.  At its core, that makes the Rebound discussion one about measurement – how large are the gains claimed by those working in resources efficiency?  It’s fair to consider Rebound as a loss much like friction modifies the ideal laws of motion.  And it’s fair to expect the P2 community to be interested in whether the Rebound loss is trivial or sizable.  Even a brief look at the academic literature listed below makes it clear that efficiency measurements based on expected savings will likely fail to accurately report actual resource consumption rates.  Measurements that forecast savings without considering Rebound are a little like projecting savings with a Simple Payback calculation – it’s ok as a first approximation, but it’s not considered a complete calculation – Simple Payback often ignores cash flows received after the payback period and typically does not recognize the time value of money.

The second reason for P2 professionals to notice the Rebound discussion is that it highlights the critical importance of considering social and behavioral science and that a focus through technology blinders is limiting.  The Rebound premise recognizes that waste comes not only from technological change, but also from the actions, decisions, and behaviors of individuals and organizations. The P2 professional who wants to stay active in a world focused on the sustainability challenge will need to be proficient in both technical change and behavioral change.

Lastly, P2 policymakers should recognize the relationship of Rebound information with the mandates of the 1990 P2 Act (PPA).  Congress told the EPA Administrator in the PPA to use grants “…to promote the use of source reduction techniques by businesses.”  Among other things, it says, grant funded programs should “[t]arget assistance to businesses for whom lack of information is an impediment to source reduction.”  Certainly the information about whether and how much Rebound can impact resource consumption is information which can impede ultimate source reduction success.

More potential discussion topics surrounding Rebound exist for technical assistance providers, program managers, and policy makers than this author has time to cover in one post. Some of the bright young economists at UNO College of Business Administration (CBA) have posited interesting research to add to the mix.  I hope you’ll look a little bit further into Rebound, as it seems to be an annual topic of interest which generates significant give-and-take.

Bibliography of Papers on Rebound

Ahmad, Mobin-ud-Din, Hugh Turral, Llyas Masih, Mark Giordano and Zubair Masood. 2007. Water Saving Technologies: Myths and Realities Revealed in Pakistan’s Rice-Wheat Systems. Colombo, Sri Lanka: International Water Management Institute.

Alcott, Blake. 2005. Jevons’ paradox. Ecological Economics. 54: 9-21.

Birol, Fatih and Jan Horst Keppler. 2000. Prices, technology development and the rebound effect. 2000. Energy Policy. 28: 457-469.

Gomez-Baggethun, Erik, Rudolf de Groot, Pedro L. Lomas and Carlos Montes. 2010. The history of ecosystem services    in economic theory and practice: From early notions to markets and payment schemes. Ecological Economics. 69: 1209-1218.

Hertwich, Edgar G. Consumption and the Rebound Effect. Journal of Industrial Ecology. 9: 85-98.

Huffaker, Ray and Norman Whittlesey. 2003. A Theoretical Analysis of Economic Incentive Policies Encouraging Agricultural Water Conservation. Water Resources Development. 19: 37-53.

Llop, Maria. 2007. Economic impact of alternative water policy scenarios in the Spanish production system: An input-output analysis. Ecological Economics. 68: 288-294.

Lorentz, Andre and Julia Sophie Woersdorfer. 2009. ‘Energy-efficient household appliances and the rebound effect – A model on the demand for washing machines’. Working paper.

Madlener, Reinhard and Blake Alcott. 2009. Energy rebound and economic growth: A review of the main issues and research needs. Energy. 34: 370-376.

Negri, Donald H. and Douglas H. Brooks. 1990. Determinants of Irrigation Technology Choice. Western Journal of Agricultural Economics. 15: 213-223.

Peterson, Jeffrey, M. and Ya Ding. 2005. Economic Adjustments to Groundwater Depletion in the High Plains: Do Water-Saving Irrigation Systems Save Water? American Journal of Agricultural Economics. 87: 147-159.

Pfeiffer, Lisa and C.-.Y Cynthia Lin. 2010. Does Efficient Irrigation Technology Lead to Reduced Groundwater Extraction?: Empirical Evidence. Working Paper.

Polimeni, John M. and Raluca Iorgulescu Polimeni. 2006. Jevons’ Paradox and the myth of technological liberation. Ecological Complexity. 3: 344-353.

Roy, Joyashree. 2000. The rebound effect: some empirical evidence from India. 28: 433-438.

Ruzzenenti, F. and R. Basosi. 2008. The role of the power/efficiency misconception in the rebound effect’s size debate: Does efficiency actually lead to a power enhancement? Energy Policy. 36: 3626-3632.

Saunders, Harry D. 1992. The Khazzoom-Brookes Postulate and Neoclassical Growth. The Energy Journal. 13: 130-148.

Sorrell, Steve and John Dimitropoulos. 2008. The rebound effect: Microeconomic definitions, limitations and extensions. Ecological Economics. 65: 636-649.

Sorrell, Steve, John Dimitropoulos and Matt Sommerville. 2009. Empirical estimates of the direct rebound effect: A review. Energy Policy. 37: 1356-1371.

Thomas, Brinda A.  Estimating the U.S. Economy-wide Rebound Effect.  Carnegie Mellon University, 2011

Ward, Frank A. and Manuel Pulido-Velazquez. 2008. Water conservation in irrigation can increase water use. PNAS. 105: 18215-18220.

Non-Shopping Music

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011 by

The last day of October this year was designated as the birthdate of the 7 billionth person on earth. Many like to point to the growing population as a stressor on the well being of the planet. It’s a rising source of stress, sure, but rising even faster is the global growth of the consumer class.

You’ve also no doubt seen that the biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday, has expanded to include increasing chunks of time on Thursday. Not to mention the transactions on Cyber Monday.

When it comes to buying, why waste it on one special day?

This year is the 20th year of Buy Nothing Day – a day to celebrate the choice not to over-consume. Interestingly, BND was begun by Adbusters.org, the same folks who had a hand in initiating Occupy Wall Street. You can Tweet about mashing the two with #OCCUPYXMAS

Or, you could simply take the day as holiday, enjoying some music to put you in the mood for not shopping.

Last year I put together a list of tunes that cover consumerism and our insatiable need to accumulate more stuff. I found half again as many songs this year as last. Almost all of the songs are available for a free listen by searching YouTube. I’d be interested in hearing if there are some you think I missed or if you think shouldn’t be on the list. Leave a comment – let everyone know your favorite & why.

And – should you happen to think of it – offer a business model for what to do with a curated list of such tunes. Perhaps there’s some edutainment potential?

2010 list:
Backyard Tire Fire – “Food For Thought” http://vimeo.com/3232290
Billy Bragg – “The Busy Girl Buys Beauty”
Brother Tree – “We Bought It”
Tracy Chapman – “Mountains of Things”
Chumbawamba – “Buy Nothing Day”
The Clash- “Lost In the Supermarket”
Janis Joplin – “Mercedes Benz”
The Kinks – “Dedicated Follower of Fashion”
Yo Yo Ma & Alison Kraus – “Simple Gifts” multiple covers available – also byJewel, Aaron Copeland
Tom Waits – “Step Right Up”
Gillian Welch – “Everything is Free”
Neil Young – “Piece of Crap”

2011 list:
Fugazi – “Merchandise”
Furnaceface – “How Happy Do You Want To Be?”
Bobby Gaylor – “Stop Buying Me Crap for Christmas”
The Go! Team – “Buy Nothing Day”
The Jam – “Shopping”
Billy Joel – “No Man’s Land”
Johnny Boy – “You are the Generation that Bought More Shoes and You Get What You Deserve”
Tom Lehrer – “A Christmas Carol”
Madonna – “Material Girl”
Numbers – “We Like Having These Things”
Reverend Billy & The Church of Stop Shopping – “Stop Shopping”
Root Boy Slim & the Sex Change Band – “Christmas at Kmart”
Talking Heads – “Nothing But Flowers”
They Might Be Giants – “Grocery Bag”
Shania Twain – “Ka-Ching”
System Of A Down – “Chic ‘n’ Stu”

Plenty of songs to choose from. If there’s not a playlist in there for you somewhere, then… well, maybe some shopping therapy is what you need.