Archive for January, 2010

New Green Ski Website Concentrates on Travel to Resorts

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

29

Jan

Save our snow with clifbarsos.com

A new website has been launched in the US which concentrates on the key issue of climate change gas emissions caused by travel to ski resorts by skiers and boarders, which in most cases are far greater than the emissions in resort. The company behind energy snack CLIF BAR has developed the first guide in the US to “green travel” to and from ski resorts.

CLIF BAR’s new Save Our Snow (SOS) website, www.clifbarsos.com, helps skiers and snowboarders find local ski bus services, arrange ridesharing and learn winter driving tips to reduce their carbon emissions.

The new SOS website is part of CLIF BAR’s ongoing Save Our Snow program, which includes a free iPhone App that enables winter enthusiasts to learn what North America ski resorts are doing to combat global warming. The iPhone App also provides skiers and riders with up-to-the-minute snow conditions (download the free app from your iPhone, iTouch App Store or clifbar.com/sosiphone).

CLIF BARs, organic-certified energy bars, are made by athletes, many of whom themselves are winter sports enthusiasts. “Global warming is the most significant threat facing winter sports,” said Ricardo Balazs, sports marketing experience manager for Clif Bar and Company. “We want to help skiers and riders rethink how they reach the summit. We all can drive less, have more fun and help save the planet.”

Transportation accounts for nearly 30 percent of the US’s greenhouse gases-the leading cause of global warming-according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Winter enthusiasts alone make more than 57 million visits to U.S. ski resorts each season, reports the National Ski Areas Association. Taking a bus, says the U.S. Department of Energy, creates just half a pound of CO2 per passenger mile, compared with 590 pounds per passenger mile for the average car.

To locate a ski bus this winter, skiers and riders can simply enter their zip code on clifbarsos.com. They’ll see information about the nearest ski bus, the resort(s) it serves and a map directing them to the bus departure site.

The ski bus search tool has information on 35 ski bus companies serving more than 50 resorts in 12 states. The list includes shuttles from CLIF BAR, which is partnering with Greasebus to operate the nation’s most eco-friendly ski bus services this winter in three cities. Each Greasebus is fueled by waste vegetable oil from local restaurants:

Portland, OR: Runs daily throughout this winter season between Portland and Mount Hood Meadows ski resort. Debuted last winter as the nation’s first ski bus fueled by vegetable oil.

Vancouver, BC: Will serve Grouse Mountain in February during the Olympics, providing eco-conscious transport for area skiers, riders and Olympic spectators.

Seattle, WA: The Vancouver Greasebus will move to Seattle in March, offering shuttle service to and from Summit-at-Snoqualmie and Stevens Pass.

In partnership with Zimride, clifbarsos.com also helps winter enthusiasts find or offer car rides to others heading to ski resorts. Ride sharing helps reduce traffic and thus the overall climate impact of vehicles.

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Sokol Blosser Staff Field Trip: Rogue Brewery

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Some of you who are more familiar with the inner workings of the Oregon wine industry might know the heavily used phrase, “It takes a lot of great beer to make great wine.” Or, as Alex Sokol Blosser says, “This wine was made with blood, sweat, and beers.” Since we crazies in the alcoholic beverage industry are pretty much of a similar mind, we decided to meet up with our brothers (and sisters) in the beverage industry at Rogue Brewery for our annual Sokol Blosser staff field trip.

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Rose Garden earns LEED status

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

The Portland Trail Blazers announced Tuesday that the team earned LEED Gold status for its sustainability efforts at the Rose Garden Arena — a first for a major league sports facility.

The certification, awarded to the Rose Garden by the U.S. Green Building Council under their Leadership in Energy and Environmental (LEED) program, identifies and rewards best practices for a building’s energy, water and natural resource performance.

“The Trail Blazers are proud to play a role in Portland’s drive to be the greenest city in the country,” said Larry Miller, president of the Portland Trail Blazers. “Today’s announcement is a result of the local expertise and innovation helping Portland foster a stronger, more sustainable economy. We don’t view this as a one-time achievement, but as an important step toward our long-term goals.”

The Rose Garden staff’s sustainability efforts included the following programs:

  • Recycling: Officials say more than 60 percent of operations waste is diverted from local landfills. Recycling stations for visitors and a food-waste composting program with vendors divert approximately 1,000 tons annually.
  • Transportation: More than 30 percent of Rose Garden attendees use public or alternative transportation, such as bicycle commuting. The team subsidizes transit passes for staff and uses bikes and electric vehicles for on-site operations.
  • Energy, Gas and Water: In addition to upgrading to energy efficient lighting and low-flow plumbing fixtures, the Trail Blazers partnered with Pacific Power and NW Natural for the purchase of 100 percent renewable energy programs for the Rose Garden.
  • Purchasing: The Trail Blazers developed partnerships with suppliers for sustainable purchasing, including more than 95 percent compostable food and beverage serving containers and materials, 100 percent recycled content trash liners, replacing disposables with re-usable commodities, using green-certified chemicals and equipment and sustainable food and beverage alternatives for fans.

ecoShuttle Commercial

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Oregon Economic Sustainability: Will 2010 Be The Year?

Friday, January 15th, 2010

As we close the books on one of the the most economically challenging years since the Great Depression, ThinkOregon poses this question: Will 2010 be the year that Oregonians finally place economic sustainability on par with environmental sustainability?

It was a question echoed by Professor Timothy Duy, Director of the Oregon Economics Forum at the University of Oregon, in a December 17th presentation to the Westside Economic Alliance.

ThinkOregon has advocated for sometime now that Oregon adopt economically sustainable practices on the scope and scale afforded the environment; creating a supportive business climate in which employers are able to create new, living-wage jobs.

In his presentation, Profession Duy enumerated what makes a region attractive to firms:

  • Labor Supply
  • Infrastructure
  • Transportation Networks
  • Pro-business climate
  • Land supply

ThinkOregon agrees and goes one step further by recommending that state and local officials conserve limited taxpayer resources in order to stem the unfettered growth of government.

A look back at 2009 reveals just how fragile — and out of balance — our state’s economy had become. It’s as if Oregon had developed monocular vision, viewing all things exclusively through the lens of the environment.  From our perspective, Oregon’s strength had become it’s weakness.

To be clear, ThinkOregon is not suggesting that Professor Duy agrees with our premise, but in a slide entitled “Big Question” Tim asks: “Can a region afford to set policies that make them undesirable to large firms?”

ThinkOregon has asserted on numerous occasions that instead of a balanced approach to policy making, the region has pursued policies that have put Oregon at a distinct economic disadvantage. The public discourse has become so single-minded that intolerance has crept into Oregon’s consciousness: Oregon employers are labeled as big corporations; profits are questioned; and, the wealthy vilified.

The unintended consequences for Oregonians have been nothing short of devastating: record unemployment, record food stamp enrollment, record school-aged poverty, record mortgage defaults and like a broken record, the list goes on and on. All this at a time when progressives and conservatives agree … the wealthier companies and individuals are … the more they contribute to the well-being of the environment, schools and those in need.

How then, do we regain our footing without rolling back what we all have come to cherish… and without damaging Oregon’s “green” brand equity? In a word: balance.

Professor Duy concluded his remarks to the group by asking: “Are we ready to admit that there is a problem?”

The fact he can ask that question in public without castigation is perhaps the very best sign that Oregon maybe ready to bring itself back into balance and place economic sustainability on par with environmental sustainability.

Click to read why you should consider voting No on Oregon Ballot Measures 66 and 67

Manage Waste, Conserve Energy, Save Money – Go Green Today!

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

January 13th, 2010 by My Efficient Planet 

Earlier in the week I was at our local health food store waiting for my turn at the check-out counter when I noticed the lady in front of me had bought her own re-usable carry bags which suddenly made a lot more sense to me than choosing “paper or plastic”. When we witness examples of people choosing to live in a more sustainable and eco-friendly way, it causes us to stop and reflect on our own living and buying practices.

The Global Green USA program that invites celebrities to arrive at the Academy Awards in energy efficient transportation started in 2002 with just four participants. This year Jennifer Aniston and supporting-actress nominee Frances McDormand were among the 25 VIPs to participate in the fourth annual “Red Carpet, Green Cars” event sponsored by the environmental organization Global Green USA and Toyota Motor Corp. Participants in the program arrived in either Toyota or Lexus hybrids.

Considering that close to 40 million people watch the Academy Awards it creates a great opportunity for a lesson in green living and shows that you can be environmentally minded with style.

The same applies to planning a “green meeting”. In the process you are not giving up anything and can be saving a lot in terms of cost and waste in the process.

A green meeting or event incorporates environmental considerations to minimize any negative impact on the environment. There are also economic benefits to using recycles materials, reusing items and reducing the amount of materials used. Plan an environmentally responsible event and promote your event’s environmental features keeping the following ideas in mind:

Prevent and Reduce Waste
Use double-sided printing for promotional materials and handouts.
Avoid mass distribution of handouts and allow attendees to order copies.
Provide reusable name badges.

Recycle and Manage Waste
Collect paper and recyclable beverage containers in meeting areas.
Collect cardboard and paper in exhibit areas.
Collect cardboard, beverage containers, aluminum cans, and plastics in food vending areas.
If re-usable containers are not used, encourage use of recyclable beverage containers.

Conserve Energy and Reduce Traffic
Look for naturally lighted meeting and exhibit spaces.
Publicize mass transportation options.
Provide shuttle service from mass transit stops or hotels to the event site.

Food Service and Accommodations
Plan food service needs carefully to avoid unnecessary waste.
Consider use of durable food service items.
Donate excess food to charitable organizations.
Work with hotel on non-replacement of linens, soaps, etc.

Buy Environmentally Aware Products
Use recycled paper and vegetable- and soy-based inks for promotional materials and handouts.
Consider selling or providing refillable containers for beverages.
Provide reusable containers for handouts or samples (pocket or file folders, cloth bags).
Where reusable items are not feasible, select products that are made from recovered materials and that also can be recycled.

Educate Participants and Exhibitors
Request the use of recycled and recyclable handouts or giveaways.
Request that unused items be collected for use at another event.
Encourage participants to recycle materials at the event.
Reward participation by communicating environmental savings achieved.

For more information and support in planning your “green meetings”, go to:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Green Conference Initiative http://www.epa.gov/oppt/greenmeetings/

The Green Meetings / Conference Initiative was developed and is supported by the EPA’s Pollution Prevention Division to provide conference planners and suppliers of conference services, easy access to environmentally friendly goals of conference planning. The Initiative provides green options and opportunities for conference planning.

Baltimore launches eco-friendly shuttle service

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

January 12, 2010

The City of Baltimore’s free shuttle service features a 21-vehicle fleet of EcoSaver IV hybrid buses supplied by Charlotte, N.C.-based manufacturer, DesignLine.

On Monday, the Baltimore City Department of Transportation (BCDOT) launched its free shuttle bus service, the Charm City Circulator, featuring a fleet of 21 eco-friendly buses that will travel along three routes in Baltimore City.

This new fleet of hybrid-electric buses, manufactured by Charlotte, N.C.-based DesignLine,  is the first of its kind in a major metropolitan area. The shuttles are designed to reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gases while offering a reliable and convenient alternative mode of transportation.

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon was joined by BCDOT Director Alfred H. Foxx and business, tourism and community leaders for a ribbon cutting ceremony to launch the new Charm City Circulator’s Orange Route.

“This new fleet of eco-friendly buses will provide a faster, cleaner and greener way to travel about Baltimore’s busy downtown neighborhoods,” said Mayor Dixon. “Similar systems in cities across the country have helped to decrease congestion and improve air quality. We are very proud to launch such an innovative alternative mode of transportation which is free of charge for all who want to ride.”

The buses will operate on three separate routes. The Orange Route, which began operation Monday, will travel along Lombard and Pratt Streets between Hollins Market and Harbor East. Two additional routes will be deployed in the spring of 2010.

The Charm City Circulator will provide citizens with the opportunity to connect between other forms of public transportation such as the light rail, MARC trains, the subway and even the Water Taxi Harbor Connector. The new shuttle service will also tie together growing communities in the busy downtown district and will allow for downtown employees to connect with less expensive parking areas on the outskirts of town.

In order to provide fast and convenient service, the Department of Transportation has installed designated bus lanes along with other transit priority mechanisms in the service area. These methods will keep the shuttles moving on a ten-minute frequency, seven days a week.

To learn more about the Charm City Circulator, visit www.charmcitycirculator.com. The Website provides detailed information including hours of operation, route maps and stop locations.

The 5 Best Cities For Green Jobs

Monday, January 11th, 2010

 January 11th, 2010

Guest Post From Dan Shapley From The Daily Green

“In a generally bleak employment picture, the green jobs sector is growing faster than any other.” So writes Jim Motavalli in The Daily Green’s report about the best U.S. cities to find a green job. Growth in the sector was a robust 9.1% in the decade ending in 2007 (compared to 3.7% overall), and as many as another 1.9 million jobs are expected by 2020 from the American Clean Energy and Security Act. The stimulus bill is pumping $30 billion into the clean energy sector alone.

Green jobs can mean a lot of things — conservation and pollution mitigation, clean energy, energy efficiency, environmentally friendly production, along with training and support. But each state isn’t sharing equally in this bounty of new jobs.

“With unemployment over 10%, people need to go where the jobs are, and some states — and some cities — are making out better than others as the green jobs phenomenon unfolds,” Motavalli writes. “While every state and most American cities have a piece of the new economy, here are the five cities that — through a combination of federal, state and municipal programs — are faring best.”

New York City

nyc summer streets

Under newly reelected Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the city launched PlaNYC with 127 initiatives for greening the city, including an earmark $1 billion for building retrofits to increase energy efficiency and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Clean Edge ranks the New York metropolitan area (including northern New Jersey and Long Island) third among 15 top U.S. metro areas for job creation. New York State was the sixth leading state for clean energy job creation in 2007, adding 3,323 clean businesses and 34,363 new jobs that year. Some $209 million in venture capital was invested in the state’s clean energy economy between 2006 and 2008.

Find a green job in New York City.

Photo: Rolando Alvarez

San Francisco

 Park(ing) Day, The Trust for Public Land Office, San Francisco.

According to the New York Times, California had the most clean-energy jobs in 2008: 125,000, many of them in progressive San Francisco and nearby Silicon Valley. The Clean Edge report identifies San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose as the number one metro area for clean technology job activity (Los Angeles/Riverside/Orange County is second). SunPower, a solar company based in San Jose with 5,400 employees, is rated #10 in Clean Edge’s 2009 survey of top clean-tech employers. Green tech can only get better in San Francisco, where 20 big construction projects have applied for LEED certification and voters recently approved $100 million in revenue bonds to support renewable energy. In California overall, green businesses increased 45% between 1995 and 2008, and employment in the sectors grew 36%, according to the “Many Shades of Green” report from Next 10. The report said the most jobs were added in services (45% of the total), followed by manufacturing (21%). In research positions, the biggest private sector categories are green transportation, energy generation, and air and environment, said the report.

Find a green job in San Francisco.

Photo: Bill Poole/The Trust for Public Land

Boston/Cambridge

installing windows

Starting with the fact that with its concentration of colleges –including MIT, Boston University, Harvard, Northeastern, Emerson and several more, the metro area is a great incubator for green technology. Named the “best walking city” by Prevention magazine last year, Boston has had a major climate protection plan in place since 2002. Its number three fuel source, believe it or not, is wind power. Its new buildings have to be constructed to top LEED standards, and most of its municipal vehicles are either electric or run on B20 biofuel. Boston (including Worcester, Lawrence, Lowell and Brockton) ranks as number four in the Clean Edge survey of 15 top U.S. metro areas for clean-tech job creation. The Boston area is, not surprisingly, home to some cutting-edge green companies.

Boston Power, for instance, is helmed by the ambitious Swedish executive Christina Lampe-Onnerud, who pioneered a better lithium-ion battery for HP laptops, and is moving into the electric car market. And a local competitor is the fast-moving A123, which also makes lithium-ion battery packs and has Chrysler among its customers.

Find a green job in Boston
available green jobs in Boston is here.

Photo: George Peters/ IStock

Detroit

Olivia zaleski at Detroit auto show

The Motor City makes few Top Ten lists. Its vaunted monorail goes practically nowhere, its downtown is still struggling, and political turmoil at City Hall — added to daunting budgetary constraints — has kept civic progress at a minimum. Michigan has the nation’s highest unemployment rate at 15.3%, and it is also dealing with 3.6% job loss between 1998 and 2007. A Pew Center on the States report says that the state will have lost a million jobs by the end of the decade (a quarter in the auto industry, and more than a third this year). But help is on the way, in the form of federal Department of Energy green-tech grants that are funding factories and creating jobs to tap into the vast pool of skilled auto industry talent in the metropolitan area. The state had created more than 22,000 clean-tech jobs by 2007, but those numbers will jump impressively when recent DOE funding puts spades in the ground.

Michigan did make one Top Ten list: It was number seven on a list of clean energy jobs compiled by Pew Charitable Trusts. Clean Edge identifies the green transportation sector as one of four growth areas, and that benefits the cluster of companies making hybrid and electric vehicles in the greater Detroit area. Even companies not based in Michigan — such as California’s Fisker Automotive and Ford battery car supplier Magna International — have opened hubs near Detroit. A mechanical engineer working on plug-in hybrids and EVs can expect to make $63,600 median pay with a bachelor’s degree, reports Clean Edge. A great example of what’s happening in the Rust Belt is the transformation of the Ford Motor Company plant in Wixom, Michigan from a shuttered eyesore that had lost 1,500 jobs to an incubator for Xtreme Power (which makes power systems for wind and solar) and Clairvoyant Energy (solar).

Find a green job in Detroit.

Photo: Courtesy Olivia Zaleski/CNNMoney

Portland, Oregon

portland community garden

Many rate Portland number one in sustainability. What other city can boast of 200 miles of walking and bicycling trails, a fast transit hub to the airport, fare-free light rail in the city core and free parking for electric cars? The city replaced a six-lane highway with a waterfront park, and it has 50 LEED-certified buildings. Despite strong challenges from Colorado and Tennessee, Oregon was the number one performer in creating clean energy economy jobs, reports the Pew Charitable Trusts. Oregon had almost 20,000 clean jobs in 2007, many of them in the Portland metro area. More than 1 percent of the Beaver State’s 1.9 million jobs are related to the clean energy economy — the highest percentage in the nation. Oregon is also number three in providing environmentally friendly manufacturing jobs. A Clean Edge survey of the Top 15 metro areas for clean-tech job activity puts Portland/Salem at number eight, just below Seattle/Tacoma/Bremerton. Like other cities on this list, Portland struggles with high unemployment, but it’s fighting joblessness with its prime weapon — sustainability.

Find a green job in Portland.

Photo: Leslie Pohl-Kosbau

So You’re Getting Hitched and You Want an Eco-Friendly Wedding

Friday, January 8th, 2010

Posted by: Kenda | January 7, 2010 

Well, first off, congratulations!  Whether this is the first, second or third go around, you can make this one count not just for yourself and your soon-to-be-lifelong partner but also for the earth.

You can turn an event that is typically blissfully unaware into a blissfully aware affair.  Starting from the engagement ring to the cheering, you, too, can have an eco-conscious wedding.

This is a day that can redefine abundance and joy, because the message of love and peace goes well beyond your vows and is woven into every thread of the fabric of your union.

While you can still have a traditional wedding, in order to be eco-aware, you’ll be switching out some old concepts for new ones.  In this post I share suggestions and information with you based on my own earth-friendly wedding experience.  Ours was a fairly informal affair in which the male guests were requested to wear their favorite Hawaiian shirts and the female guests were encouraged to wear flat sandals.

Let the journey begin!

The Rings:

Your ring does not have to contribute the tons of earth and wildlife uprooted by people who have a sub par way of existence.  You can go to an antique store (and fantasize about the life of the person who had the ring before you), ask grandma if you could wear her ring, go to estate sales or get a ring made of reclaimed (as in recycled) gold and by a sustainable jeweler.  While diamonds may be ego-friendly, they are less likely to be eco-friendly.  Did you know that diamond engagement rings are on their way out?  Soon-to-be brides are now expressing themselves in many colorful ways.  For me, the color red lifts my spirits and symbolizes passion, so I chose a ruby.  The ring shown in this photo is a Chatham lab-created ruby.  http://www.chatham.com/The_Chatham_Story.php

While this ruby has the same molecular structure as a ruby pulled from a Burmese mountain, it caused neither habitat destruction nor human suffering.  http://preview.tinyurl.com/nmxxph 

I was absolutely adamant that I did not want to wear a piece of jewelry –the one piece of jewelry representing all-encompassing enduring love – that came at the expense of another’s pain or that caused harm to the earth.  There are more sustainable and responsible jewelers cropping up.  We lucked out to find a local jeweler to meet our needs.
http://www.thevaultgallery.com/index.html

You can also check out this link to learn more about sustainable engagement rings:  http://preview.tinyurl.com/ydtny3k

As a gesture of community and love and just before the ceremony began, we passed our rings around to each guest and asked them to place their positive intentions onto them. While this may sound like an activity that is too new agey for the average wedding Joe and Jane, our guests took it very seriously.

The Invitation:

Yes, my fiancé and I used an evite and a video.  While we attached a document to the online invitation, we requested it only be printed if necessary and please on recycled paper.  By using electronic means, we reduced 1) the amount of paper and 2) the natural resources necessary to get mail from one place in California to several places in North America.  Oh, and it saved us a lot of time and money.  Please overlook all video dorkiness.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rG-STqJucc

The Venue:

Find that lovely outdoor place that can hold as many people as you like while using solar lighting (as in daylight) or candles at night. Many now are heading outdoors not just for the natural beauty but also because it requires no decorations!  Let Mother Nature be your venue designer – she comes with eons of tasteful experience!

My fiancé (let’s call him Scott, because well, that’s his name) and I took over an entire Inn that housed all of our family members under one roof.   Monarch Cove is situation in Capitola, California on a bluff overlooking the Monterey Bay.  Beautiful is an understatement.
http://www.monarch-cove-inn.com/

Having all family members at one locale cut down on back-and-forth driving from the rehearsal to the wedding to the reception, because all three were at the same place. And yes, it’s always risky to put all family members together.  They were all on their best behavior and we all emerged unscathed from the experience.  Outside of a shuttle to shuffle guests back and forth from one main meeting place to the Inn, we consciously chose not to rent any fancy vehicles for the affair – thus cutting back on limo expenses and saving some fossil fuels in the process.

The Dress:

Any chance you would consider wearing a second-hand dress or one that can be used again elsewhere?  I realize this may be a huge sacrifice – even a deal breaker.  Just give it some thought.  The options are endless if you are willing to move away from a traditional white wedding dress into a gown or party dress that can also be worn to your holiday celebration or later loaned out to grateful friends.  If you must have the more traditional white wedding dress, there new lines of good-for-the-earth bridal wear cropping up throughout the US, Europe and Australia:  http://www.thenaturalweddingcompany.co.uk/dress.htm

Earth friendly wedding dresses are even hitting the high fashion world:
http://www.celebrityweddingbuzz.com/celebrity_weddings/2009/04/hot-ecofriendly-miami-couture-line-goes-bridal.html

The Flowers: 

Our caterer picked up two dozen flowers at a local farmer’s market the morning of our wedding.  Some, Dahlias were placed around the ceremonial arbor, and the rest; Sunflowers were placed on the buffet table.  In lieu of my carrying flowers to the arbor, I walked in between both of my parents and instead held their hands.  This made the moment very precious and even more so now, because my father died eight months after the ceremony.  Holding their hands while walking toward my future husband is a memory I will forever hold dear to my heart.

The Officiant:

We had a petite, spunky and local Officiant named Christine Thunderrunner Jones.  Phone: 831.462.1823 While we wrote our own vows, she added a lovely Native American flare with some poems and words of wisdom. We felt a strong connection to her and were delighted to have her presence at our wedding. It was important for us to have an Officiant with whom we synergized.

We had nothing thrown at us after the ceremony and were very clear about not having a butterfly release.  For those of you who are considering a butterfly release, I have some disappointing news:  Butterfly releases are not eco-friendly.  http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/eij/article/all_aflutter/

Frankly, any wildlife release of any type is not eco-friendly.  It is simply not friendly in any way eco or otherwise.  Releases tend to put nonnative species in an unnatural place not to mention many butterflies die from the crowding or stress of being in a box waiting for their release.  It’s like butterfly prison, and it does not support the natural progress of an earth-friendly wedding.  Sorry to disillusion.

However, because I was married in October along the central coast of California just the time when Monarchs arrive for their overwintering, a few Monarchs crashed my wedding.  The photo to the right captures Scott and I both looking up and admiring the fluttering party crashers.  Lesson learned?  Get married outdoors during the time a year that you can experience your favorite aspects of nature.

If you must celebrate at the end of your wedding ceremony by having your guests toss something on you, try ecofetti or lavender buds.  These are biodegradable and earth-happy options for your guests to douse you in colorful and fragrant joy.
http://www.ecoparti.com/toec.html

The Communal Meal:

We contracted with a local, vegetarian chef, Poppy de Garmo http://www.chefpoppy.com/About_Me.html who only uses locally grown products.  Our wedding was in October, and we had a beautiful, colorful, abundant harvest of foods.  It was vegan except for one type of local, organic, goat’s cheese and a main entrée that also had organic goat’s cheese.

Pre-dunch (the reception was lunch and dinner combined) we offered a cheese and fruit platter with gorgeous locally baked bread and spreads:

Humus
Tapenade
Babaghanoush
Grilled polenta with roasted red pepper topping
Kungpao lettuce cups (tofu, dices vegetables, hot chilies, and peanuts)

On each table, instead of a centerpiece there was an antipasti platter with a loaf of local bread and one brilliant Sunflower crown.

 

 

Some food for thought:  The fare you offer at your wedding is one of the most important decisions an eco-friendly bride and groom can make.  Putting animal carcasses on your guests’ plates misses out on the perfect opportunity to help others build awareness of their impact on the environment…not to mention their bodies.  Offering vegetarian fare saves water, reduces deforestation, reduces fossil fuels, and the animals like it too.  http://vegetarian.about.com/od/vegetarianvegan101/f/environment.htm

Go healthy.  Go earthy. Have a loving, compassionate, abundant, Veg fest.

  The Main Menu

Butternut squash, fennel, white beans, chard soup
Harley farms goat cheese raviolis
Pasta with cherry tomato and basil sauté
Red lentils with cumin crusted tofu, golden beets and chard
Grilled and roasted vegetables from Lindencroft Farm
Heirloom tomato platter

 

The Wedding Cake:  Local Black China Bakery outshined themselves with our scrumptious vegan chocolate (white and dark) cakes.  http://www.blackchinabakery.com/

The Photographer:

Cheri Larsh Arellano shares our eco-values.  She owns a certified green business in Berkeley called Conscious Creative.  All photos were digital and we made online albums.  We were incredibly pleased with her photographs!  She really worked the gig too.  It seemed everywhere we were, there she was!  All the photographs in this posting were taken by Cheri except for those labeled ‘Jim’.  Those photographs were taken by another dear friend, Jim Meyers.
http://www.consciouscreative.com/

The Dishes and Flatware:

While we used porcelain plates, glasses and stainless steel flatware for the main meal, we used all biodegradable ware from BioSmart for the cake and beer.  I have used their products in the past for other events.  They were proven to have a great product at a fair price with fabulous customer service.
http://www.biosmartbiodegradable.com/BiodegradableFoodserviceSupplies/Biodegradable-Forks

We used rice paper napkins with a butterfly imprint for the cake:
http://www.ecoparti.com/butterflies.html

Waste Not Want Not:  We attempted to reduce our waste in all areas including leftovers.  Perishable foods that could no longer be consumed were composted.

The Spirits:

We called upon the spirits of our past to join us…just kidding.  We’re not that groovy.  Seriously, we used a local, organic micro-brewery for our beer and purchased wine from a local winery.  http://www.santacruzmountainbrewing.com/
http://www.santacruzmountainvineyard.com/

The water came from either the tap or was filtered – no plastic bottles.

The Seating:

We found it unnecessary to waste paper for seating arrangements, so instead we wrote one list and posted it by the wine bar – knowing that would be a high-traffic area.  Each table was differentiated by a unique Zen card and each Zen card had an inspiring philosophical message.  And no, I’m not even Buddhist.  Only two people who came to the wedding are actually practicing Buddhists, yet the Zen cards were a huge hit!

Zen cards can be found on Amazon.  Buy the used cards, save money and still get a great product!

http://preview.tinyurl.com/ycfw63l

Table Seating

UNITY and LOVE
Scott, Kenda along with family

 JOY
Names of guests

KINDNESS
Names of guests

PROSPERITY and DANCE
Names of guests

COMPASSION
Names of guests

PEACE
Names of guests

LOYALTY
Names of guests

DESTINY
Names of guests

COMMUNITY
Names of guests

Speaking of paper:  We had no program.  We figured a lack of program would keep folks waiting in anticipation at the edge of their seats.  Okay, not really.  We simply didn’t find it necessary.

The Favors:

So you prefer not to have your party favors crafted by child slave laborers in Indonesia?  Super!  The good news is:  you can have your conscious favors at a reasonable cost to your wallet and at no cost to humanity or the earth.  The bad news is:  Oh hey, there is no bad news!

At each place setting, we had personalized seed favors in which guests could later plant the entire favor and grow beautiful wildflowers – a constant, annual reminder of the wedding and our marriage.  http://www.ecoparti.com/seedfavors.html

Also, each table had Milkweed seed packets.  Given the wedding was along the Central Coast of California and how I am incredibly passionate about the decline of the Monarchs, I wanted the local California guests to plant the native Milkweed in order to help the Monarchs thrive.

I checked into buying tree saplings for each guest, but alas, that was out of my budget.  http://www.ecoparti.com/livetreefavor.html

The Music:

We hired a local Cuban band that totally rocked the house and got everyone on their feet moving to the salsa beat -many doing that saucy salsa for the first time! Scott and I took lessons so we could pretend that we actually knew how to dance at our wedding.
http://www.losboleros.net/

The Registry:

Scott and I were both very clear that we did not want to collect ‘things’.  We’ve both been in the process of minimizing for years, so the idea of not adding stuff to our home felt freeing and clean.  Given this was the second marriage for both of us and that it was shaping up to be an informal and intimate event, we also put out a clear message that the presence of our guests was the best present we could have. Some honored that wish and some simply needed to give – we were grateful either way.

We registered online at Honeyfund – a gift registry for the honeymoon.  I did a lot of research and decided this was the best online honeymoon registry.  So we hunkered down and decided on some activities for our eco-friendly Costa Rican honeymoon and posted those on our registry.  Our guests could support us on any one of many activities using pay pal.  Pay pal then deposited the money into our checking account.  It was easy, simple and required very little effort, and it contributed to our having a fantabulous honeymoon!   We sent thank you postcards from the respective places to each of the guests who helped us pay for that specific activity, night of lodging or spa treatment (yes, we spoiled ourselves with a couple of those).
http://www.honeyfund.com

Scott and I exchanged gifts we created ourselves – unknowingly we each had an artistic surprise for the other!  Scott, his daughter and father formed a little band and sang Harvest Moon (I cried).  I painted him a picture of our old dog, Jack, who we had to euthanize less than a month before we were married – Jack was going to be our best man.

 

 

 

Post Party Play:

Many of our guests hung out with us well into the night.  We sat around a small, contained bonfire playing music without additional light sources.  I think it might have been my favorite part of the day.  Everyone (including myself!) was relaxed and truly enjoying the company of others.

So, do I have any regrets from our wedding day?  Absolutely not.  I do, however, wish Scott and I paid for the carbon footprint of those guests who flew in and at least for the footprint of our honeymoon, so we’re trying to make up for it in other ways.  http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/02/carbon-footprint-green-basics.php?dtc=TH_sbl_basics

Oh…and I wish I had worn one of those breezy, hippy-girl, hemp dresses, but overall, I am still smiling from the event.  And our guests are still talking about one of the most spectacular, inspiring, unique and fun weddings they ever attended.  Turns out most of them don’t get out much.

It was a wonderful, loving, bountiful experience, and being earth-conscious helped make it so.  We believe in our hearts we did the right thing by beginning our marital union with peace and full consciousness and by making efforts to create abundance without causing harm to other beings or the earth.  After all, it’s only fair to create a lifelong partner with the earth just as you are doing so with your dearly betrothed, right?

All photos are copy written and have been included with permission from the photographer.  To contact Cheri Larsh Arellano go to http://www.consciouscreative.com/

Green Investing: A Top Ten List For 2010

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

by editor on January 6, 2010

in Indian Press Release, Web News Wire

The investment management team at Portfolio 21 has put together the following 10 guidelines for investing in 2010.

1. Ecological limits matter.

The inevitability of our planet’s ecological limits means that the choices before companies are not about whether they care for the environment, but about the substance and relevance of what they are doing. Dealing with limited ecological capacity is arguably the most important business challenge facing companies in the 21st century, and greenwashing has no place in a company that is serious about its future. It is irrelevant whether a company wants to be perceived as doing the right thing or committed to environmental sustainability. It is only relevant that a company understands the challenges and opportunities associated with ecological limits and then acts accordingly.

2. Greenhouse gas liabilities are real.

Climate destabilization is among the greatest ecological risks we face, and the associated liabilities pose a threat to investors. We believe investors should look for companies that are reducing direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions as well as decreasing exposure to other environmental liabilities, such as superfund sites, spills, toxic releases, and the fines and penalties associated with these liabilities.

3. Pay attention to the business model.

Companies should be adapting their business models to gain competitive advantages within ecological constraints. They need to be deliberately addressing the ecological constraints that are increasingly limiting business as usual. A positive business model might include products of service, sustainable mobility, local raw materials and/or suppliers, lean manufacturing, and the use of regional manufacturing and distribution.

4. Follow the revenues.

One way to discern the difference between a companys green rhetoric and real action is to look at the composition of its revenues. For example, investors should look for companies with rising trends in revenues derived from ecologically superior product lines, evolving green product lines, investments in renewable energy, innovative transportation and distribution strategies, and efficient use of resources.

5. ESG is an integral part of financial analysis.

Financial analysis must be integrated with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. After all, financial statements are simply the distillation of a set of decisions that are made in the context of a web of factors that are driven primarily by human behavior. And, as we know intuitively, and as behavioral economists are proving, human behavior is not always rational, nor is it driven by a single factor. We are complex creatures, business is complex, and financial success is complex. It is imperative to consider all of the factors that might be driving the financial performance of a company.

6. Qualitative, fundamental analysis goes hand in hand with long-term investing.

We believe there is an advantage for long-term investors who spend a lot of upfront time understanding a company and its business before investing. An easy way to determine whether a manager is matching behavior with rhetoric about long-term investing is to look at the turnover rate of the fund. This number will tell you how often the securities in the fund are replaced with new positions. For example, a turnover rate of zero means a fund literally buys and holds. An annual turnover rate of 100% means the fund replaces every security in the fund once a year. A long-term manager will tend to have low annual turnover rates.

7. There is no Federal Reserve or lender of last resort for natural resources.

As the financial crisis unfolded and huge institutions imploded, the response from policymakers was to print money. Its as if, when faced with the most serious economic crisis since the 1930s, the answer was, Theres an app for that. Print and borrow money, dole it out, and increase the national debt and budget deficits. Unfortunately, while it is possible to borrow money, at least for a while, there is not another set of ecosystems from which we can borrow ecological capacity.

8. Awareness and action are on the rise.

The relentless flow of scientific verification of global climate change, an administration that actually acknowledges this reality, growing awareness on the part of business and the public-all have been contributing to big increases in flows of money to investments that focus on environmental issues and opportunities. During our 10 years, Portfolio 21 has experienced positive net new money (deposits minus redemptions) in every month except one. Thats an impressive record for a mutual fund, especially during the past year, and illustrates the increasing demand for green investing.

9. Father does NOT always know best.

For once and for all, lets set aside the outdated illusion that a bunch of financiers on Wall Street really know best about everything. The fundamental economic principles underlying the risk and return assumptions governing Wall Street have changed little since World War II, yet the world is completely different today and faces a whole new set of challenges and opportunities. Its time to listen to Mother Earth.

10. The future is now.

Ecological limits are not going to happen someday. They are here today, and they were here yesterday. It is too late for us to reverse global climate change. There are thousands of worthy organizations and individuals working diligently to roll back the tide of human destruction of the environment, but no matter how hard they work we are at the point where we are striving to make things less bad or less disruptive. While this may seem negative, it’s the truth as we understand it. From an investment perspective, we cannot afford to be in denial or hope and wait for a technological solution to solve the ecological crisis. Investment strategies must manage ecological risks and opportunities.

In summary, there is an enormous opportunity for companies to save money by saving natural resources and prosper by providing the products, services, and technologies that are needed to create a sustainable society. We believe the business and investment case for environmental sustainability has become increasingly clear, and the corporations that are embracing it are strategically positioned to prosper in the 21st Century.

About Portfolio 21 Investments:

Portfolio 21 Investments has been a pioneer in the field of environmental and socially responsible investing since 1982. In 1999, the company launched the Portfolio 21 mutual fund to address the ecological risks and opportunities of the investment process in the 21st century. Portfolio 21 Investments is based in Portland, OR and has approximately $450 million in assets under management.

Mutual fund investing involves risk. Principal loss is possible. The Fund invests in foreign securities which involve greater volatility and political, economic and currency risks and differences in accounting methods. The Fund also invests in smaller companies, which involve additional risks such as limited liquidity and greater volatility. The Funds environmental policy could cause it to make or avoid investments that could result in the Fund underperforming similar funds that do not have an environmental policy.

The views expressed herein represent the opinions of Portfolio 21 and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, a guarantee of future results, nor investment advice.

The funds investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses must be considered carefully before investing. The prospectus contains this and other important information about the investment company, and it may be obtained by calling 877-351-4115, or visiting http://www.portfolio21.com. Read it carefully before investing.

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