Never Say Never (Green Heating? – Not So Impossible After All) – NYTimes.com

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Green Heating? Not So Impossible After All – NYTimes.com.

Full story at above link

Kristianstad, a farming and food-processing powerhouse in southern Sweden has effectively been able to do business while no longer using fossil fuels for heating!

Over the last decade the Kristianstad government has been making the move from mostly oil heating to various green fuels like biomassfood processing waste, and wood pellets.

When some environmental policy experts suggest that countries should cut emissions by, say, 20 or 30 percent by 2020; the naysayers come out and it becomes easier to believe this is impossible for fear of change or whatever your personal beliefs are.  There are methods for drastically reducing emissions, but they come with an economic cost, in the short term, and requires political commitment.

“Having cut out fossil fuel for heating, Kristianstad’s per-capita carbon dioxide emissions are now only about 4.1 tons per person. Compare that to 19.18 in the United States and 4.91 in China, a far less developed country than Sweden.”

Kristianstad is a regular, bustling, and rural city.  They are not some “green” project or utopia.  As a  matter of fact, many cities in Europe are figuring how to make do with using much less fossil fuels for heat.

Why would this be impossible in the United States?  It’s not!

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Biofuel Plan Will Cause Rise in Carbon Emissions | CommonDreams.org

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Biofuel Plan Will Cause Rise in Carbon Emissions | CommonDreams.org.

The admission coincides with a major study published this week which concludes that biofuels will create an extra 56 million tons of CO2 per year – the equivalent of 12 to 26 million cars on Europe’s roads by 2020.

This is because Europe will need to cultivate an area somewhere between the size of Belgium and the Republic of Ireland with biofuels to meet the target, which can only be done through land conversion – and more controversially, deforestation.

There is not enough cultivatable land available to grow them in Europe, so forests in South America and Asia are being destroyed to meet European demand.

Although under European rules biofuels cannot be bought from “new” agricultural lands such as these, biofuel businesses have got around this by buying up existing land. Forests are then cut down to make up for the loss of agriculture – a trick known as Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC).

Tim Rice, ActionAid’s biofuels policy advisor, said: “It’s welcome that the Government recognises that greenhouse gas emissions from indirect land use change are significant. But now it must urge the European Commission to make sure that this compelling evidence is factored into new legislation.”

“What our report found was for European member states to meet their recently published plans on biofuels, they would have to cultivate an area somewhere between the size of Belgium and the Republic of Ireland. This is not viable and will result in a big Indirect Land Use Change outside the EU,” he said.

US Researchers Fight to Reclaim Climate Science Message | CommonDreams.org

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The American Geophysical Union, the leading climate science organization, is due to launch a new web service offering journalists accurate scientific information about climate change. The AGU is also working on an iPhone app.

Those involved deny a political agenda.  The web service will address scientific questions only.

“Our goal is not to become partisan. But if we are going to respond to denialists’ claims which are unfounded in science then perhaps we are going to be viewed as going toe-to-toe with critics,” said John Abraham of St. Thomas University of Minnesota.

It is intended to run for 3 months using appx. 700 volunteers.

Progress for climate change took a hard hit during these elections and the science and politics are bound to intertwine.

A majority of the Republican newcomers deny the existence of man-made climate change or oppose regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, according to an analysis by Think Progress.

Part 6: “Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices” by Mindy Pennybacker: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

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Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

–recieve and pay bills online. Most companies are switching to paperless statements. I actually pay all of my bills online and it is soooo much easier. I dont need stamps, envelopes, etc. I also don’t need to remember to mail them or leave them in my purse for 2 weeks.
–use paper and wood that are partially or wholly recycled or in the case of paper, not made from wood at all

Green Paper and Wood Labels
Ecologo-certified
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC): certified as coming from forests managed w/o pesticides and restricts cutting old-growth trees and the destruction of ecosystems
Green Seal: natural resources were conserved and less toxic waste
Post-Consumer-Recycled (PCR)
Post-Consumer Waste (PCW)
Processed Chlorine Free (PCF)
Recycled/Reclaimed “Good Wood” : certified by the Rainforest Alliance
Totally Chlorine-Free (TCF)

Alternative Materials
Bagasse (sugar cane), elephant dung (yep!!!), hemp, knaff, recycled blue jeans

Green Tips:
–print on both sides, save and re-use wrapping paper, recycle paper

Bad Paper and Wood Practices:
Chlorine-bleached paper, Furniture and paneling made from tropical hardwoods (mahogany, teak), virgin paper products, stop catalogs and direct mailings, using only one side of paper, buying new wrapping paper, tossing recycabled paper in the trash

MY TIP: I take notes in my classes using my little laptop. It saves space even when printing it out, is easier to highlight, and you can edit what you really need in your notes later!!!!

–chlorine-bleaching of wood pulp releases cancer-causing dioxins which collect and rise in the food chain
–recycling captures heavy metal in ink
–preserving the rainforest helps us to find new medicines and are biodiversity “hot spots”
–old-growth trees keep more CO2 out of the atmosphere than younger trees
–logging releases carbon and is a principle source of emissions
recycling paper produces less greenhouse gases
–check out www.greenbiz.com

Recycled Office Paper: PCW chlorine-free, eco-certified, and tree-free papers

www.badgerpaper.com
www.dolphinblue.com
www.greenfieldpaper.com
www.mohawkpaper.com
www.newleafpaper.com
www.recycledproducts.org
www.staples.com
www.thepapermillstore.com
www.treecycle.com

Green Household Papers
Atlantic Packaging’s “Ambiance” “Fiesta” and “April Soft” brands
Cascade “North River” brand
Earth First
Marcal
Planet
Seventh Generation
Whole Food’s 365

Recycling Tips
General
–most municipalities now pick-up paper, plastics (#1 and #2 recycling code), glass and metal (aliminum cans, stainless steel).
–how to recycle almost anything: www.earth911.com

Appliances
–for refigerators, freezers, and air-conditioners: the Environmental Protection Agency‘s Responsible Appliance Disposal Program safely captures coolants called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which destroy the ozone layer
–most appliances have metal, check www.recyclesteel.org for local locations

Computers
–most turn up as toxic waste in China, India, Ghana, and Pakistan
–only 10% of US computers are recycled
–many computer companies offer free take-back recycling
–Apple and Dell will recycle a computer from any manufacturer if you buy one from them new
–Dell Outlet sells recycled, refurbished, and upgraded computers
National Cristina Foundation gives used computers to disabled and economically disadvantaged children. They are non-profit.
Basel Action Network
Silicon Valley Toxic Coalition

Cell Phones
–can often drop it off in a bin at the store where you bought it
find a place near you
donate to a charity in your area who will take used electronics and tech items or here
–college campuses often have phone and computer recycling programs
Best Buy accepts phones, computers and tv’s up to 32 inches wide for recycling. You have to pay $10 for anything with a screen but they give you a $10 gift card.

Televisions
–tv monitors contain toxic lead
–check with your municipality’s solid waste department about pick-up or drop-off centers
–Office Depot accepts old tvs
Sony drop-off centers

Hazardous Waste
–do not put these things in the garbage or recycling bin:
antifreeze, batteries, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) bulbs, paints and solvents, or pesticides

Other links:
www.epa.gov/epawaste/index.htm
www.earth911.com
www.freerecycle.org
www.craigslist.org

Part 7

Part 8

Part 4: “Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices” by Mindy Pennybacker

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Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Included in this post is the information on appliances, household energy use, storage, etc.

Storage and Cooking
–glass is best, it is recyclable and there is no chemical leaching
–Tempered glass resources
Anchor Hocking
Frigoverre
Pyrex
Corningware (representin’…woo woo Corning, NY…sorry)
–do NOT microwave food in plastics even the so-called miocrowave safe dishes leach small amounts of chemicals like BPA

BPA
Phthalates

Note: recycling code refers to the little triangle with the arrows that are labels for recycling
Safe Plastic:
–it is safe to eat out of plastics if it is unheated
–LDPE-Low density polyethylene (recycling code #4)
–PP-Polypropylene (recycling code #5)

Unsafe Plastic:
–PC-Polycarbonate plastics (recycling code #7)
–PS-Polystyrene – this leaches styrene

Plastic Wraps
Safe: LDPE-Low density polyethylene (#4)
Ex: Best Yet, Glad, Saran Green (or unbleached), or vegetable wax and parchment paper
www.greenfeet.com has some good products
–also Whole Foods Supermarkets

Unsafe: PVC-Polyvinyl chloride or vinyl (#3)
–These are known to leach phthalates

Recyclable plastics: LDPE (#4) and PP (#5)
Not recyclable: PVC (#3) and PC (#7)
–There are some with no recycling code. She asks that you refer to greenerpenny.com for this information

Other (#7)
Bioplastics (PLA)-these are not easily recyclable but you can check in your area for facilities that might recycle this material
–At the time this book was published San Francisco was the only place that had compostable plastic pick-up.
Recology SF
Is it being considered in your area?

Canned Foods
–almost all linings of canned food contain BPA that can migrate at normal room temperatures. However, only 11% have levels which were harmful to lab animals
–Her tip?: Eat more fresh and frozen foods
–choose preserved food in glass jars
–BPA leaches better in fatty or acidic foods so get foods like tomato paste or soups in cartons
TetraPak’s Tetra Brik– wood pulp and sustainable
Forest Stew (ardship) Council or FSC
–if you are buying canned baby formula go for the dry powder
–if you do buy canned baby formula try Eden Organics (BPA free label except their tomatoes
–the longer canned food sits, the higher the amount of leaching
BPA Timeline: helps determine how much leaching happens in what products in a set amount of time

Teflon
–when Teflon is OVERHEATED (over 500 degrees F) it releases hazardous fumes that cause flu-like symptoms and has been known to kill pet birds
perfluorochemical
perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
–Supposedly DuPont voluntarily agreed to phase these chemicals out by 2015, but they will still be collecting in the environment long after
–the good news is that if they are used as intended, you shouldn’t have any problems: throw away if scorched or scratched and don’t use metal utensils or overheat

Home
–you can often receive federal tax credits for making your home more energy efficient
–some states will give utility rebates for the same reason

Appliances
–the myth is dead, you do not need to wash all your clothes in hot water. Soap is awesome it does it’s job just as well in cold water. Use hot or warm water when you have heavily soiled clothes or are washing something like your re-useable grocery bags (they often have traces of salmonella and other undesirable things) or bedding (dust mites).
–You should start line drying clothes whenever possible. She gives a list of good drying racks on greenerpenny.com
–the fridge is the most draining appliance you own
–in 2009 EPA finally declared greenhouse gases to be pollution
–Learn about global warming threats: Harvard Center for Health and Global Environment
the greatest potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions comes from the residential sector
–turning off lights ALWAYS when you are not using them is a very easy way to save energy
–as bulbs die out replace them with more energy efficient bulbs
–front load washing machines are more energy and water efficient then top loaders
–look for the Energy Star label on appliances and a water efficient factor less than 9.5
–Dryers: gas models are better and they make dryers that have moisture sensors that shut the dryer off when the clothes are dry

Calculate your household emissions
Calculate annual transportation AND home carbon footprint
Calculator from Inconvenient Truth

Other links:
Consortium for Energy Efficiency
Consumer Reports
American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy

Lighting
–lighting is the quickest AND easiest way to make a huge energy saving difference
incandescent CFL
new LED bulbs
–look for the Energy Star approved label
–incandescents waste 95% as heat and warms the air around it. However this is only 30% of it’s energy output
–LED’s are cooler (as in not as hot lol)
–the cost is higher initially than buying crappy light bulbs at the dollar store, but the difference in energy costs pays for it over and over
–the new LED bulbs are VERYexpensive right now, but the price will go down eventually like the CFL’s did

Recycling bulbs
–IKEA and Home Depot and most hardware and lighting chains will recycle the CFL bulbs. Also, look into whether you have a local municipal household hazardous waste facility
–do not use CFL bulbs in a fixture that is completely enclosed like this one

Good labels:
Earthmate
Feit Ecobulb
Litetronics
Max Lite
Philips with Alto
Sylvania

Light quality
Task or day light: Blue Max or Max Lite
Soft white: n:vision
Desk/reading: Philips with Alto
Warm ambient: GE Soft White or Lights of America Mini Twister

Other links:
Energy Star
CFL fixtures
Environmental Defense’s Lightbulb Sector

~~~~~~Breaking a CFL!!!!~~~~~~~~~
–don’t panic lol
–air out the room for 10 minutes
–wear gloves, cover nose and mouth, put it in a lidded jar
–the mercury will have gathered in drops wipe these up with a rag and sticky tape
–seal in a plastic bag and take to your local hazardous waste facility

Heating and Cooling
–in the winter keep the temperature around 68 degrees F in the daytime and 60 degrees F at night
–use your sweaters dammit lol
–if you have electric heat, keep it below 70 degrees F
–if you use gas heat, keep at same temp but you save more
–in the summer keep the a/c at 78 degrees F or higher
–look for an Energy Star a/c
–treat the windows with either curtains or blinds in the summer (shading keeps your house cooler) or some sort of plastic wrap in the winter
US Department of Energy shades and tips
snaptint.com

Fridge
–keep the thermostat between 36 and 38 degrees F and the freezer at 3 degrees F
–if you have stuff cluttered all over the top of your fridge it can make the fridge work harder and use more energy
–clean the coils once a year with a vacuum and a wet rag
–move fridge away from the stove, which can cause it to heat up and work harder when you are cooking
–cool hot foods on the counter before putting away
–COOL PENNYBACKER TIP: If you want to check to see if the seal around your fridge door is good, insert a dollar bill halfway in the door and close. If it falls you need to replace the sealing
–fridges with freezers on the top are most energy efficient, then ones on the bottom, followed by side-to side doors

Stove/Oven
–electric-induction cooktop is the best (I have one of these and it heats up very quickly…I love it!)
–gas stoves with electric igniters are second best
–the microwave is the most efficient oven you own!!!!
–use high conductive cookware that holds heat well
–use lids when you are cooking so that the cooking time is less and you are not losing energy to heat loss
–only pre-heat your oven for 5 min

Dishwasher
–check water efficiency
–scrape food off because by not pre-winsing you can save 20 g of water a load
–run FULL loads (same with washer and dryer)
–if your dishwasher has an option to air dry, use it
–using a dishwasher is better than hand-washing (so if you have an environmentally opinionated mate this is a good selling point on getting a dishwasher 🙂
–dont run water the whole time you are washing (I am guilty of this but not so much lately)
–fill your sink with soap water and wash. Set dishes in other side of sink (if you only have one sink use a wash basin with water to rinse) then rinse all together
–you can get a low flow faucet aerator for your sink
www.greenfeet.com

Electronics
–BEST TIP!! PLUG MULTIPLE ELECTRONICS INTO POWER STRIPS AND TURN THEM OFF WHEN YOU ARE NOT USING THEM BECAUSE THEY CONTINUE TO USE ELECTRICITY TO RUN CLOCKS OR STANDBY LIGHTS EVEN WHEN OFF!!!!
I have been doing this one for awhile

Computer
–utilize the sleep or hibernate mode or turn off when you are not using it
–laptops are more efficient than desktops so 😛
if you are buying new electronics check Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics. They update this quarterly.

Hazardous electronic wastes:
arsenic, lead, mercury, toxic flame retardent, PVC plastics (phthalates)

–you can use solar chargers: Solio
–smart power strips: www.smarthomeusa.com
Kill-a-watt
thinkgeek.com/gadgets

Water
–it is best to shower in 5 minutes or less (this is hard to do as a woman especially if you have long hair. We have to shave our legs, pits, and wherever else, wash our hair, condition it, and also clean our bodies…uggghhhh)
–you can use a low flow showerhead of 2g or less
–set your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees F
–the UN predicts that 2/3 of the world will suffer from water scarcity by 2025
–there are expected shortages in 36 states by 2013
–climate change will lead to even more water shortages
–the best idea is to use a tankless natural gas water heater or a zero-emission solar water heater
–water-saving supplies can be found at the author’s site: www.greenerpenny.com
–water garden and mow your lawn early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid more evaporation
–toilets are the worst water guzzlers
–there are WaterSense toilets that use 20% less than what the federal standard is
sinkpositive.com has a neat trick where you wash your hands with the water that is going to fill in the tank anyways
–AWESOME TIP ALERT: PUT A ONE LITER WATER BOTTLE IN YOUR TOILET TANK TO DISPLACE THAT AMOUNT OF WATER WHILE YOU ARE RE-USING THE SAME 1 LITER OF WATER EVERY TIME
Toilet Tank Bank
–use deep irrigation lines, water the roots and bases of trees and shrubs when gardening
organicgardening.com
NE Organic Farming Association gardening manual
–make and use a rain barrel for gardening

Learn about grey water
Barrels and deep irrigation lines
–cultivate native grasses and plants so that they are adjusted to the climate and normal moisture range. This is also best because of the threat of invasive species

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 3: “Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices” by Mindy Pennybacker: Meat, Dairy, Poultry, Eggs

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Whether you choose to eat these things or not it is still important to know the different labels. It is also important to know in case you get in a discussion about these products; whether it be about animal rights or hormones and antibiotic use in the meat industry.

The truth is that the lower you eat on the food chain the closer you are to the primary producers. I myself am not “vegetarian“, “vegan”, “lacto-ovo”, etc. However, I have made some choices recently in my life about food because of weight issues. I was pleased to find out that by trying to lose weight I have stepped into a world of healthier eating over-all, both for me and the Earth.

Meat
–Mindy Pennybacker makes a suggestion at the beginning of this chapter to, “skip red meat at least once a week” (p55). I would suggest even less than this. Are there really people who eat red meat that much? I have been trying to cut out all red meat and to tell you the truth…I don’t even miss it. Last night I made sloppy Joes with ground chicken. It was delicious and not greasy…mmmmmm.
–Less red meat is healthy for you because there is less of a chance to develop heart disease and cancer.
–Eating less red meat is good for the Earth for a few reasons like the industry’s part in climate change due to methane gas. There is also spillage of waste into water sewers and waterways and the amount of water and food use needed to raise cattle. Also, there is pesticide use and deforestation (to make more clearings for ranches).
–Vegetable protein is usually cheaper per pound than from meat.
Calculate the carbon in your diet

Trusted Labels
–the characteristics (which vary from label to label) include having a third party verification, no antibiotics or only using antibiotics on the sick, and no use of growth hormones. Also, no feeding parts of animals to other animals. Some look out for the welfare of the animal.

American Grass-fed Association: spend most of their lives out-doors and sick animals are removed instead of given antibiotics
Animal Welfare Approved: this is a family farm label and the animals spend their lives outdoors
Certified Humane: animals are given humane sheltering
Demeter Biodynamics (link 1)
Demeter Biodynamics (link 2): this label promises exercise and humane treatment of animals
Food Alliance Certified: lifetime access to pastures and humane treatment
Maine Quality Trademark: no growth hormones and animal welfare is respected
USDA Organic: This is listed in trusted labels and in the lose it side because it is better for you but not always necessarily better for the animals

Her list of Thumbs Down labels-mostly due to no 3rd party verification

Animal Care Certified/United Egg Producer: no 3rd party verification
Antibiotic Free/Raised Without Antibiotics/No Antibiotics Administered: no 3rd party verification
Free Range/Free Roaming: no guarantee
Fresh (poultry): Could have still been frozen at some point
Grass fed: no 3rd party verification
USDA “Naturally Raised”: claims no hormones or artificial colors, few antibiotics used, but there is no verification
USDA Process Verified Certified Grass (Forage) Fed: Access to pasture required but not guaranteed. They can be fed hay in stalls and still qualify. Antibiotics and growth hormones can still be used.

Grass-fed beef is lower in saturated fats and has more heart healthy omega 3 than regular beef.
Links:
Union of Concerned Scientists
Find local, grass-fed animal products

Protein/ Calcium for Vegetarians
Protein: beans and peas, nuts, and soy products (WARNING: to dieters, these things can be very high in fat)
Calcium: dark leafy veggies, soy, and calcium-fortified orange juice

rBGH is a genetically recombinant bovine growth hormone. It can cause pain in cows because it stimulates the OVER-production of milk, which causes the udders to swell. This can lead to infections in the udder. Where there are infections there is antibiotic use. With the amount of antibiotics already used in people, (one for every friggin cough or sneeze) having antibiotics in our diets can cause problems. We are already at risk of developing stronger bacteria by nature because with every generation bacteria mutate. They have such a short life cycle that they go through MANY generations in our one. This gives them the capacity to evolve faster than we can evolve the defenses to them. Now that we have antibiotics the ones surviving are the ones that do not respond to the antibiotics. You know how your doctor says, “Make sure you take them all even if you are feeling better”? That is why.

Links about antibiotic resistance
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Get Smart campaign
Antibiotic Resistance by Sean D. Pitman M.D.

Find rBGH-free milk locally

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8