Archive for April, 2011

Garden to your heart’s content

Friday, April 29th, 2011

 

How’s it going blog readers?  Things are going well here at ecoShuttle, we are definitely staying busy getting ready for our big GrowingGardens Fundraiser (www.growing-gardens.org/) this Sunday at our headquarters, 2420 NE Columbia Blvd, here in P-town.  Our goal is to help get people in low income families up and gardening so they can have some fresh fruits and veggies throughout the year.  I told my mum about this and she really liked the idea, and I think she put it best when she busted out this age-old adage; if you give someone fish they will have food for a day, if you teach someone to fish they will have food for a lifetime (–but if they are like me and don’t eat seafood, they will just have a lifetime supply of fish with no place to put them). (more…)

The Good News Blog!

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

 

By: Mark Klosterman

Hello everyone!  As you have probably noticed, it is easy to be a negative Nancy when writing about environmental issues and climate change, but people are making great efforts to correct this, and it is okay to write about that too.  Hopefully I can make this a recurring blog theme that I will call…”The Good News Blog!”  (more…)

Next-generation biodiesels don’t pressure food supply, emissions

Monday, April 18th, 2011

FARGO, N.D. — Amyris and Gevo are two of the highest-flying stocks in the biofuels sector in 2011. Each has posted spectacular gains since January. Both firms are intriguing because their emphasis is on the production of advanced biofuels.By: Cole Gustafson, Cole GustafsonFARGO, N.D. — Amyris and Gevo are two of the highest-flying stocks in the biofuels sector in 2011. Each has posted spectacular gains since January. Both firms are intriguing because their emphasis is on the production of advanced biofuels.Advanced biofuels reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent under the nation’s renewable fuel standard program. Amyris is unique in that it is focusing on the production of biodiesel using specialized yeast that utilizes sugarcane as its feedstock.First-generation biodiesels were derived from transesterification of agricultural oils, especially soybean and canola oils. More recently, corn oil obtained from additional fractionation of corn entering ethanol plants also has been used as a biodiesel feedstock.Not the sameProducing next-generation biodiesel or “renewable diesel” is a completely different process than the production of traditional biodiesel. Instead of relying on chemical catalysts, these new diesel fuels are produced from biohydrocarbons obtained from inedible plants, algae or waste streams and then processed into biodiesel using proprietary bacteria. This reduces the pressure on global food production and tailpipe emissions. Furthermore, they are designed to be “drop-in” true diesels that can be placed in a pipeline and used without any limitations on how much can be used.Minnesota, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington have state biodiesel blending requirements. Minnesota’s statute, which was enacted in 2005, has been waived several times because of biodiesel quality problems. However, the law is in effect again.Last year, Amyris announced that it had surpassed critical ASTM testing and received Environmental Protection Agency approval to raise its registered blend level of ultralow sulfur diesel from 20 to 35 percent, which is the highest blend rate approved for either ethanol or biodiesel.Gevo is constructing a plant in southern Minnesota to produce biobutanol from sugar beets. The common denominator between Amyris and Gevo is the use of sugar instead of cellulose. Sugar is abundant in many other crops, including sweet sorghum.Producing biodiesel from algae has garnered much public attention during the past couple of years. However, recent studies have questioned how ready the industry is for commercialization. For example, the Energy Biosciences Institute categorized the effort as a “nascent industry” that will require more substantial long-term research, development, demonstration and deployment.

EnviroMedia Celebrates Earth Day by Continuing its Commitment to Offset CO2 Emissions through Purchases from Green Mountain Energy Company

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

EnviroMedia will offset 100% of its carbon emissions by purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates and Carbon Offsets from Green Mountain

Quote startGreen Mountain Energy Company is proud to have EnviroMedia – an organization dedicated to helping promote the environment – as a customer, and applauds its leadership and commitment to clean energy by offsetting its CO2 emissions.Quote end

Austin, TX (Vocus/PRWEB) April 14, 2011

Two Austin, Texas-based companies are continuing their partnership this Earth Day to support the environment and to leave a smaller carbon footprint. EnviroMedia, a public relations and advertising agency dedicated solely to improving public health and the environment, announced today that it will continue purchasing Green e-Energy certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and Climate Action Reserve certified carbon offsets from Green Mountain Energy Company, the nation’s leading competitive retail provider of cleaner energy and carbon offset solutions.

Over the past three years, EnviroMedia has tracked and offset 100 percent of its estimated annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and has committed to fulfill its environmental goals for another year. EnviroMedia will track and offset the annual CO2 emissions from electricity usage in its offices, corporate air travel, employee commuting, and corporate vehicles owned or leased by EnviroMedia. Green Mountain assisted EnviroMedia in developing its carbon footprint calculations using the World Resources Institute’s Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

“Two-thirds of our carbon footprint is from the electricity we consume in our Austin and Portland offices, another quarter is from our employee commuting, and 10 percent is from air travel, based on Green Mountain’s calculations,” said Valerie Davis, co-founder and CEO of EnviroMedia. “We try to do all we can — our company vehicle is a hybrid, we offer telecommuting and rail passes to our employees, and we recently switched to a website host powered by renewable energy. But we still have a carbon footprint, and Green Mountain’s offset program is the next best thing to help minimize our business’s environmental impact.”

EnviroMedia’s commitment to offset 100 percent of its carbon emissions over the past three years helps the company remain in sync with the needs of its environmental and public health clients.

“Green Mountain Energy Company is proud to have EnviroMedia – an organization dedicated to helping promote the environment – as a customer, and applauds its leadership and commitment to clean energy by offsetting its CO2 emissions,” said Scott Martin, vice president of Commercial Services, Green Mountain Energy Company. “We are excited to continue our partnership with this company that is making a difference in a city where many of our employees live, work, and play.”

To date, EnviroMedia has offset 960 metric tons of CO2 by purchasing 560 metric tons of carbon offsets along with 671,000 kWh of renewable energy credits. That’s like:

  •     Taking approximately 190 cars off the road for one year
  •     The amount of CO2 absorbed by over 125,000 trees in one year
  •     1,670 houses turning off all their lights for one year
  •     Recycling over 5 million aluminum cans
  •     Recycling a stack of newspapers over 70,000 feet high!

 

About Earth DayFriday, April 22 is the 41st anniversary of Earth Day, an event many people around the world will celebrate by focusing on ways to reduce pollution, protect nature and lower their personal impact on the environment. Earth Day began in 1970 as an annual day to recognized the wonders and beauty of our planet and has evolved into a week-long – and in some cases, month-long – celebration.

About EnviroMedia Social MarketingEnviroMedia formed in 1997 as the nation’s first full-service marketing firm focused solely on creating authentic public education campaigns for environmental and public health clients. Offices include headquarters in Austin, Texas, and a West Coast branch in Portland, Oregon. For more information, visit EnviroMedia.com.

About Green Mountain Energy CompanyGreen Mountain, the nation’s leading competitive retail provider of cleaner energy and carbon offset solutions, was founded in 1997 “to change the way power is made.” The company is the longest serving green power marketer in the U.S. Green Mountain offers consumers and businesses the choice of clean electricity products from renewable sources, such as wind, as well as a variety of carbon offset products. Green Mountain’s largest customer is the “world’s most famous office building,” the Empire State Building in New York City. Green Mountain customers have collectively helped avoid over 11.3 billion pounds of CO2 emissions. As a wholly owned subsidiary of NRG Energy, Green Mountain is backed by one of the nation’s largest renewable power producers. For more information, visit GreenMountain.com.

###

Report: Oregon farmers eager to save energy

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A new report says Oregon farmers and ranchers are eager to try alternative sources of energy and renewable energy projects to become more energy efficient.

But the Oregon Department of Agriculture report says many are having trouble getting started because of the cost of some projects and improvements.

Oregon farmers say energy typically costs them less than other production costs such as labor, but it’s still a significant and often unpredictable factor.

The state report includes a number of examples of agricultural energy efficiency projects, including growing biofuel crops.

Farmers and ranchers say they have gotten support from incentive programs offered by the state, utility companies, and national energy programs.

But the report says the up-front costs of energy efficiency projects are still a significant barrier to additional projects.

Read more: http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/default/article/Report-Oregon-farmers-eager-to-save-energy-1335215.php#ixzz1JT3Daxe0

Dawn of the Bed

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Hello everyone, I hope this blog finds everyone doing well. I know that everyone here at ecoShuttle is very excited as we are planning our first shindig, Dawn of the Bed, at our new location! Dawn of the Bed is an effort to promote our participation in Portland’s Growing Gardens program; we are having a family-friendly party at our lot, 2420 NE Columbia Boulevard, in NE Portland. You can expect to find us grooving to some live music, gorging ourselves on delicious food, and enjoying a fine glass of wine or beer, and just having a splendid time. We are also have a silent auction, which include items include:

Tasting and tour at Sake One for 8 people

A bottle of wine and a free tasting for 4 at Grochau Cellars

A Sokol Blosser Gift Set

A bottle of wine from Winderlea Vineyards

3 bottles of wine from Macindoe Family Cellars

7 locally hand-crafted terrariums

2 paintings from local artist

Several plant starts

Free oil change

2 Blues Cruise Tickets during the Waterfront BluesFest

Urban wine tour for a group of max 9 from ecoShuttle

Round-trip Airport Shuttle (PDX) from ecoShuttle – up to 6 passengers

Hotel Monaco-one-night stay

Hotel Monaco Spa Gift Card

One hour massage from Breathe Body Works

Coffee basket from Nossa Familia Coffee

2 tickets to Pickathon Music Festival

2 Growlers from Plew’s Brews

Coffee basket from Portland Coffee Roasting

Besaw’s Cafe Gift Card

Our goal is to have a great time, but to also raise some cash for our Growing Gardens garden.  Growing Gardens is a means for a group of 4 to 8 people to help raise a garden for low income families in our area.  Through Growing Gardens, families, individuals and students learn to grow their own food and preserve it so that they can benefit from it all year.  As participants, it is our task to get the gardens up and going (or growing, you might say).  The aim of our party is to raise donations to reach the $600 dollar goal that helps us pay for the gardening supplies.The party is getting started Sunday, May 1st at 12:00pm and going strong until 5:00pm. 

We look forward to seeing you there to help us help this wonderful and very relevant cause.http://www.growing-gardens.org/

California is expanding its carbon-trading program to 3 Canadian provinces

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

 

  – Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES California officials announced Tuesday that the state will expand its newly adopted carbon-trading program to three Canadian provinces, creating the largest regional cap-and-trade system in North America.

California will be joined by British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario in a cap-and-trade program aimed at limiting planet-heating greenhouse gases from industrial plants and transportation fuel, and that allows companies to buy and sell emissions allowances among themselves to cut their costs.

The Western Climate Initiative, launched by former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, was originally designed in 2008 to engage seven Western states and four Canadian provinces in a trading program. That program, it was hoped, would eventually fold into a broader federal cap-and-trade system to be enacted by Congress.


But since then, support for curbing global-warming emissions has ebbed, and the economic downturn has cut into business profits. Federal cap-and-trade legislation was passed by the House in 2009 but stalled in the Senate.

Arizona, New Mexico Washington, Oregon, Utah and Montana had signed on to join the initiative but have pulled out of the trading plan.

Quebec is expected to join California’s program when it is launched in January, with British Columbia and Ontario finalizing their rules within a year. Manitoba is also considering signing on.

“We hope this will evolve into a broader North American program,” said Michael Gibbs, deputy secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency. “Just how it gets there is an open question.”

The initiative comes as studies show climate change is taking a toll on the Western region of the U.S. and Canada. Scientists say that without dramatic cuts in the burning of fossil fuels, Western states will suffer from water shortages, severe wildfires, coastal flooding and the loss of animal and plant species.

Even without other U.S. states, the new trading program will cover two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions of the original 11 states and provinces, because California and Ontario are the largest regional economies by far. The Western initiative also will be three times larger than a program mounted by Northeastern U.S. states, which covers only electrical plants, Gibbs said.

Harvard University economist Robert Stavins, an authority on cap-and-trade systems, said that despite the defection of the other Western states, California “is leading the way toward a national carbon-pricing policy.” He added that the “demonization” of cap-and-trade by conservatives in Congress, who branded the system “cap-and-tax,” makes the Western regional system “of the greatest importance in influencing future congressional debates.”



Read more: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2011/04/12/1965382/california-is-expanding-its-carbon.html#ixzz1JQHptolj

Hydrothermal Energy

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

 

Hey gang!  Welcome back to the blog.  I recently came across some exciting ideas for renewable energy in the form of hydrothermal vents.  So now you’re probably thinking, “Mark, I don’t know what that form of energy is, but it sounds pretty cool.”  Well, it is cool (well, it’s actually really hot), let’s dive in! (more…)

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