Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Solar powered Indians

Jacobs Field in Cleveland has partnered with Green Energy Ohio to install solar panels at the stadium. These solar panels will provide enough electricity to power all 400 tvs at the Cleveland Indians stadium. The Indians are the first American League team to use solar power.
Green Energy Ohio has worked in concert with Doty & Miller Architects to design and install 42 GE solar panels on a newly erected pavilion.
On the west coast, the San Francisco Giants have installed 590 solar panels to power their stadium, and other Pacific Gas & Electric customers. AT&T park will be the first baseball stadium with solar power.
AT&T Park was designed to save energy from the start by using fluorescent lighting, motion sensor lighting and energy management systems. The new scoreboard this year is said to use 78 percent less energy than the old scoreboard. . . . In addition, PG&E and the Giants are starting a five-year public awareness campaign to educate and encourage Giants fans to use energy responsibly.
I'm proud that Cleveland is leading the AL in new energy technology and public education about renewable resources.

simplify: Check out a book from the library.

World's 1st Green City

China is building the world's first sustainable city, called Dongtan. Dongtan will be built on an island just north of Shanghai, and will include the following features:
  • ENERGY INDEPENDENCE: The city will create and harvest its own clean electricity.
  • CARBON BAN: Only zero-emissions vehicles will be allowed within city limits.
  • 65% OPEN SPACE: Parks, waterways, and organic farms will permeate the landscape.
  • HIGH DENSITY GREEN BUILDING: Super efficient structures will be clustered in walkable neighborhoods.
  • WASTE REPURPOSING: 90% of all waste will be reused and/or entered into multiple loop cycles.
  • Dongtan aims to house 500,000 people by 2020 in a healthy, sustainable environment.


    Monday, July 30, 2007

    Great Lakes Biodiesel

    beerWe took a tour of the Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland a few months ago, and were thrilled to learn about their environmental practices. They focus on sustainability to lower their costs, support local business, and help clean up the environment.

    Great Lakes also hosts the Burning River Fest to educate people about water quality issues in NE Ohio. I can't list all of the wonderful energy-saving things that the Great Lakes Brewery does, so check out this page.

    Here are a few things they do:
    • The shuttle bus, The Fatty Wagon, is run on vegetable oil from the restaurant
    • Some of GLBC office paper, etc, is composted and made into high quality fertilizer
    • Recycle nearly everything, and use recycled products for their 4- and 6-packs
    • so much more...
    Great Lakes also held "Dog days of summer" a few weeks ago. The street was packed with people and dogs, and a good time was had by all.

    Tip of the day: Teach your dog to fetch your beer. ;)

    Saturday, July 28, 2007

    Dammed if you do

    damThis week, Portland General Electric began the largest dam removal in the Pacific Northwest in nearly 50 years.

    Removing these two dams will allow water from the Columbia River to flow from Mt Hood once more, freeing fish and other wildlife to resume their natural habitat. Steelhead and salmon need fresh flowing water to survive, and "removal of Marmot Dam is a historic moment in salmon recovery taking place in the backyard of metropolitan Portland."

    Eight feet of the 47-foot-tall Marmot Dam was removed by Tuesday afternoon and over the next two months there will be five more blasts, along with jackhammers working daily, company spokesman Mark Fryburg said.

    "Today, this partnership took a great step toward restoring a breathtaking river for fish, wildlife and people," Portland General Electric CEO and President Peggy Fowler said in a statement.

    Using dams to create electricity seems like a nice way to use a renewable resource (rushing water) to generate power, but the damage it does to the eco-system probably isn't worth it. As Portland General Electric saw, the dams will one day have to be removed to restore critical fish and wildlife. Portland electric consumers are fortunate to be able to use wind power, at a considerable discount. Wind and solar power allow electric companies to reduce their impact on the environment.

    Unfortunately, NE Ohio is considering building more dams to generate electric power. Our current dams are posing health risks because the water downstream is so polluted. While power companies in the west are taking steps to remove dams, this seems like a step backward. Why not invest in wind and solar? We do get plenty of sunny days here, and plenty of wind too. I hope more companies follow the example of Great Lakes Brewing Company, and the Cleveland Indians stadium, and invest in renewable energy. (posts on those forthcoming)

    Tip of the day: Use a Brita or Pur water filter pitcher instead of bottled water. (saves money, power, landfill space, and plastic)

    Friday, July 27, 2007

    Eat Up Fridays - Magic Burritos

    I'm going to try to post a recipe every Friday. They will be filled with fruits or vegetables, grains, proteins, and flavor!

    Terra's Magic Burritos

    1 tomatopepper
    1 green pepper
    1 can of black beans (or whatever beans you like)
    1/2 cup corn
    1/2 cup edamame (a green bean - found near the frozen corn)
    cheese, optional
    tortilla shells

    Dice the tomato and the green pepper. Rinse the beans. Cook corn and edamame according to package directions (you can boil them together). Drain water. Mix all of the above ingredients in a bowl or reusable storage container. Spread as much as you want on a tortilla. Top with cheese. Microwave 45 seconds. Roll into burrito and microwave another 45 seconds.

    This flavorful burrito is jam-packed with protein and vegetables. I usually make a batch when I know I won't be cooking much the rest of the week. It makes enough for at least 5 burritos. Enjoy!

    USPS Goes Cradle to Cradle

    The United States Postal Service is the first shipper to be certified cradle to cradle. Essentially, the "cradle to cradle mantra suggest[s] a world where everything industry churns out can either be composted, reused or recycled into something else." After surpassing government minimum standards, the USPS went a step further to ensure energy reduction and sustainability.

    "Based on the recycled content of the more than 500 million Express Mail and Priority Mail packages and envelopes the Postal Service provides its customers each year, more than 15,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions now will be prevented annually. Express Mail and Priority Mail boxes and envelopes also are 100 percent recyclable.

    To achieve certification, all 200 suppliers contributing to the manufacture of Postal Service envelopes and packages completed a demanding series of measurements and assessments of materials for human and environmental health.

    All materials were examined using 39 criteria for human and environmental health, including toxicity, renewable energy, water stewardship, recyclability and other manufacturing attributes. The Postal Service also worked with MBDC to gain certification for an additional 200 million pieces of mailing supplies used each year, including decals, labels, packing tape, examining inks, tapes and adhesives

    Well done.
    - GreenBiz

    Tip of the Day:
    When traveling, stay at a Green Hotel.

    Thursday, July 26, 2007

    Lavender spray

    IMG_7028I have found the best mosquito repellent ever! My sister-in-law recommended it a few years ago and I've been using it ever since. Lavender oil. I just put a few drops in a bottle of water, spray it on, and the mosquitoes don't touch me! My husband uses it too, and we both swear by it. (10-15 drops in 6 oz.) The best part is, you don't have to shower off some sticky, chemically spray before you go to bed at night. And don't worry about using it on the kids. Unless they're allergic, it's safe for the little ones.

    You can find lavender oil in the essential oils part of the natural foods section of a grocery store, a natural health foods store, or an herb shop. It costs about $8 for a small bottle, which will last well over a year. During spring and fall, I put a few drops in my lotion so I smell good, and already have my mosquito repellent on in case we eat outside. This site recommends putting it in a massage oil, but I've found water to work just fine.

    Lavender water is also an excellent way to give you a refreshing clean feeling on a hot and humid day. Skip the 2nd shower on those sticky nights and just spritz on some lavender oil-water.

    Tip of the day: Download music instead of buying cds - saves on packaging and transportation costs and waste.

    Wednesday, July 25, 2007

    HomeGrown Saturday Mornings

    Get some fresh, local food at the Saturday Farmer's Market at Lock 3 every Saturday from July 28 - September 22. Homegrown Saturday Morning begins at 9am and features fresh fruits and vegetables, plants, and all sorts of other local vendors.

    Buying local fruits and vegetable helps our community, and also reduces pollution because your produce travels less to get to your table. And it tastes excellent!

    (I've just returned from Baltimore and will update you soon on my trip. Yesterday's flight was canceled.)

    Saturday, July 21, 2007

    Out of town

    I'll be out of town until Wednesday. Until the, check out the links on the right column.

    Rain Barrel Day

    IMG_7811The Akron Beacon Journal featured a story about rain barrels in today's paper! I hope everyone takes advantage of this natural, renewable resource. We can have green plants, and not use treated water. I don't expect my water bill to go down because I just haven't been watering my plants this summer. But, now I can water them for free! And, they'll be healthier for it.

    Link of the day: Calculate your carbon footprint, and find ways to reduce it.

    Friday, July 20, 2007

    Harry Potter's Happy Pages

    potterTomorrow night at midnight, the final book of the Harry Potter series will be released. I love just about anything that gets kids to read and Harry Potter is wonderful at engaging people's imagination and getting people excited about books. Thousands of bookstores, libraries, even towns will be having a party on tonight, in anticipation of the release of the 7th book - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

    Good news... This 784 page book will be printed on recycled paper! J.K. Rowling requested that all her books be printed on recycled paper. American publisher Scholastic is using 30% postconsumer paper (get the deluxe edition for 100% pcp) in the US, and the Forest Stewardship Council will approve 2/3 of the paper, which means that the trees used did not come from endangered forests. This saves 130,000 trees (but how many were cut?). Canadian publisher Raincoast Books did even better and used 100% recycled paper on all the books.

    Over 12 million copies will be printed in the first run. Printing this book on recycled paper will save so many trees. It's a good effort. I'm a little disappointed in the American publishers, and hope to see them use 100% recycled paper for future books.

    Tip of the day: Turn lights off when you leave the room.

    The Purpose of Dogs

    Mostly, to make people smile. To get us through the day. To provide endless love and affection. To inspire us to be better. Also:

    Seeing Eye Dogs
    Police Dogs
    Hearing Dogs
    Therapy Dogs (soon to be my dog, fingers crossed)
    Search and Rescue Dogs
    9/11 Heroes

    Shall I go on? Dogs are here to enjoy life. End of story.

    What does this have to do with the environment? I believe we are responsible to the environment, and to all living things. We should appreciate and be good to them. Doing so will bring us nothing but joy. (I really had to get that off my chest, in light of recent news, and keeping with my desire to be positive here.)

    A couple of fun Friday quotes:

    ~ Happiness is a warm puppy. ~Charles M. Schulz
    ~ Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear. ~Dave Barry
    ~ The average dog is a nicer person than the average person. ~Andy Rooney
    ~ Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really. ~Agnes Sligh Turnbull

    Ride the Rail, Bike the Trail

    bikeThe Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad has a $2 fare for bicyclists. You can flag down the train and hop aboard with your bike, and then bike back to your starting point. It runs Wednesdays through Sundays during the summer - through August 31.

    Get your bike out and enjoy the summer Towpath Trail.

    Thursday, July 19, 2007

    Is Ford stepping up?

    Ford is teaming up with Southern California Edison with plans to test new rechargeable hybrid cars. SCE will receive one Ford plug-in hybrid this year, and possibly 20 by 2009 to test their "durability, range and impact on the power grid" said Susan M. Cischke, Ford senior vice president for sustainability, environment and safety engineering. (Wouldn't it be nice if the U.S. had a Department of Sustainability?)

    The plan is to bring plug-in hybrids to the market more quickly. Plug-in hybrids are attractive because the car can be charged in a standard outlet. It uses battery power until the battery runs low, and then switches to the combustion engine. Therefore, in-town commuters will use little or no gas, and can still use their "electric" car for long trips. Until other sources of fuel are more readily available, this is the best technology we have.

    I would love to have an electric car for short commutes, and a plug-in hybrid as the long-term car. *dreaming*

    - Beacon Journal article.

    Tip of the day: Unplug your cell phone charger and charge your phone in your car during your commute instead.

    Wednesday, July 18, 2007

    Welcome to terra, not terror

    I'm starting this blog to discuss some earth-friendly activities going on around the world. I like to keep up on the progress that's being made to create an earth-friendly, less expensive, safe, energy-efficient place to live. I love doing whatever I can to save money, energy, and resources, so I'll show you my ideas, too.

    This will be a positive space for us to share what we're doing to reduce our footprint. I hope you enjoy reading about efforts to help our planet. (Negative comments are not welcome.)

    I plan to write something at least once a week. -that's a lot of progress!- I imagine this page will evolve over time, and I hope you check back once in a while to see what fun things are going on in the "green" world.

    The name?
    When Bush talks about the "war on terror," it usually sounds like "war on terra," which I jokingly take offense to. (Terra is Latin for Earth, and is also my name) Whether a war on the planet is actually his strategy is open for debate. We should focus on living in harmony with the earth, not living in fear.

    My new Rain Barrel

    IMG_7435My new favorite thing... rain barrels. They collect water from your gutters via the downspout and store it for later use. It is beneficial to the plants, which don't need cold, treated tap water. Rain barrels also help you save money on your water bill, and re-use a resource that otherwise goes to waste.

    I recently installed a rain barrel in my back yard. I am thrilled! My barrel holds 50 gallons, and originally held Greek pickled peppers. I plan to use it to water my wilting flowers, and keep the lawn more green than yellow. Mine cost $80 for the "blemished" barrel + $24 for the downspout diverter. I put it on a hose box, so the hose and the barrel are in one place, and to get more pressure from the elevated barrel.

    The picture shows water rushing into the barrel, just minutes after we set it up. It took about 5 minutes in a heavy downpour for the barrel to fill, so it's important to have a hose diverter to move the water away from the house. The downspout diverter I got is nice because when the barrel is full, I just close it and the water flows down the downspout as normal.

    Make your own!
    The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes is having a workshop in August on making your own rain barrel.

    Tip of the day: Lower your thermostat 2 degrees in winter, and raise it 2 degrees in summer.

    Solar Powered Zoo

    IMG_7511I went to the Cleveland Zoo last week and was thrilled to see that they are powering their speakers with solar panels. I love to learn about animal conservation, and to see energy conservation in use at the same time!

    Solar is a renewable energy and is pollution free when used. Contrary to popular concerns, solar will still provide benefits when the sun isn't shining... When it is sunny, you're usually at work, and not using a lot of energy in your home, so the energy is stored for later use. When your solar storage runs out, you're back on the "grid" until the sun shines again. Imagine the $$ this could save.

    Germany is currently leading the rest of us in solar power generation. (Germany is not exactly the sunniest place on Earth.) "It was not fear of power outages, high gas prices or tripled power bills, but economic incentives that jump-started the solar revolution in Germany...Producers of renewable energy get 43 cents for each kWh (kilowatt per hour) of solar power generated and 7 cents per kWh of wind energy generated." They're leading the way. I hope we follow soon!

    Tip of the day: Reduce junk mail by visiting the Direct Marketing Association's "remove me" site.

    Efficient Cars = More Jobs for Ohioans

    "Ohio is among seven states that would gain the most if car manufacturers would improve fuel economy, according to a study released Wednesday by the Union of Concerned Scientists, a national nonprofit organization in Massachusetts."

    If the car industry had a fuel economy standard of 35 mpg by 2018, Ohio would gain 10,500 new jobs. These jobs are not only from the auto manufacturing sector, but many would be the result of consumers saving money on gas and spending it on retail, restaurants, and new homes. More fuel efficient cars may cost more, allowing the automakers to invest their revenue in new technology. As with some hybrids today, the gas savings would offset the higher price of the vehicle.

    - Beacon Journal article.

    Tip of the day: Buy fresh food instead of frozen. It takes 10 times more energy to freeze food.

    Itsy bitsy progress

    I've read a couple of exciting things lately in the efforts to bring consumers a choice on their automobile energy sources. I love these ideas because they don't rely totally on gas, they're American, or they move us in a totally new direction.

    Google.org announced it is offering $1 million to anyone who can create a 100-mpg plug-in hybrid, and another $10 million to develop the car. Love it! I would like to get off oil completely, but I really like the idea of a plug-in car. It is so much less expensive for the consumer. And once we start using solar and wind power, the plug-ins have absolutely no emissions. (Plug-ins currently would use your home's electricity, which is coal-based) Check out the video. A plug-in hybrid would allow you to use zero gas for your work commute, plus the flexibility to take longer trips without stopping at an outlet.

    aircarSaturn has created the hybrid Vue. While Saturn is the company that ditched the all-electric EV-1 a few years back (for no good reason) I applaud their development of hybrid technology. It's the first American hybrid. This is an SUV, so it gets an estimated 27 city, 32 highway mpg. Not great, but not too bad. I look forward to more exciting, green American cars.

    Best for last... an Indian company, Tata Motors, will soon begin selling a car that runs on air! (pictured) It can go 68 mph and expected to have a range of 125 miles. Then you fill it with compressed air at the gas station!! (more articles) It seems there is talk of a air-car hybrid that uses compressed air most of the time, and a "bio-energy system" for more extended driving. The MiniCat and CityCat will cost less than $10,000.

    (originally posted on The Chief Source)

    Tip of the day: Combine shopping trips to reduce commute time.

    Petri Burger

    hamburger helperA team of scientists has figured out a way to make meat without slaughtering farm animals! Instead, they're growing them in a laboratory. Here's how it goes: they take a few muscle cells from a live animal and let them grow and divide in a vat that maintains the animal's body temperature. Then it's continually stretched to keep the cells growing. A few weeks later, a sheet of meat can be peeled off and rolled into hamburger. Tada!

    Sound gross? C'mon, the meat sold in stores now is already filled with so many chemicals, people would probably be better off having it grown in a petri dish. In fact, because cows are being fed corn and grains instead of grass, they have to be pumped full of antibiotics just to keep them alive. Those transfer to you when you eat them. It may not sound too bad to get your antibiotics with your meat, but remember, this is 1,200lb cow-grade antibiotics - not meant for a 150lb human.

    However gross this new meat sounds, it will reduce the number of factory farm animals, which would mean a reduction in land and water pollution (1.6 billion tons of manure per year). The Dutch have invested nearly $5 million and plan to have the ground meat product in 6 years. The question is, would you eat it?

    (originally posted on The Chief Source)

    Tip of the day: Keep your car tuned up and proper tire pressure to increase efficiency.

    It's Gettin' Hot In Here

    temp Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth is a must see. It felt strange to pay to see a slideshow presented by arguably one of the most boring speakers ever, but it was excellent, and well worth the $6. Gore was funny, and truly sincere. The most important part was that everything he presented was fact. Scientists have been studying the earth's temperature and the output of CO2 for years, and the results indicate that humans are truly having an impact on the temperature of our planet. It's true that the planet has gone through periods of heat and cold, but we are at record-breaking high temperatures, which follow almost exactly, the amount of CO2 released into the air. We are thickening the atmosphere through greenhouse gasses, which forces heat to stay inside our atmosphere. Some other notable facts:

    Over 928 scientists have written academic papers and studies regarding the effect of greenhouse gasses, and the human contribution to the problem, on our atmosphere. The number of times they've disagreed? 0. None. Nada. Zilch. 0. Our media has presented articles about the same topic. They presented doubt 53% of the time. Where are they getting their information? Certainly not from scientists. Perhaps they were told by Bush's Environment Chief, who was previously from the Oil Lobby. (When it was discovered he was editing documents, he resigned and went to work for ExxonMobil.)

    Energy Consumption
    Our use of fossil fuels is part of the problem. We must find alternative sources of energy. Not just to be rid of our dependence on foreign oil, but on oil altogether. But here's what the President of Shell Oil said: "I think energy independence is going too far." Wrong. Our country should be leading the development of new technology in energy - then we could sell our product all over the world, instead of relying on others to provide it for us.

    What We Can Do
    The technology is here to make a real and lasting impact. Here are several steps you can take to make a difference.

    (originally posted on The Chief Source)

    Tip of the day: Use more recycled paper products, including napkins, paper towels, notebooks, etc.