February 6, 2012

Job creation with a green touch

Way down in Vancouver, they got some good ideas about how to help the environment and create jobs at the same time — an idea which could really help us folks way up here in Northern Canada who watch the ice melt and the polar bears freak out.

One of my buddies there sent me this business editorial from the Vancouver Sun about how retrofitting buildings in British Columbia built before 1984 could cut down on carbon emissions and keep people employed.

A construction worker on a 'green roof' at the 2010 Athletes Village in Vancouver, which hosted the Winter Olympics in 2010. (Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)(From The Epoch Times)

Wouldn’t need any of the usual zoning and planning hassles or special equipment — just the usual good-idea stuff:  insulation, high-performance windows and doors, weatherstripping, super-efficient heating and cooling systems:

Retrofitting 100,000 homes a year in B.C. would keep 14,000 to 30,000 tradespeople employed, including electricians, heating/air conditioning installers, carpenters, insulation workers, building inspectors and others.

Saves the homeowner, too.  There ain’t a house up here that don’t have weatherstripping and state of the art insulation, all that stuff, if you can afford it.  Otherwise the heating bills go through the roof, literally.  Here’s their idea:

Retrofitting homes results in energy conservation and can save homeowners thousands of dollars and dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A report by the Columbia Foundation shows that at current energy prices, a homeowner can double his or her return — over $12,000 on an average $6,000 investment in energy efficiency over 25 years — by making simple changes like upgrading hot-water tanks and home heating and cooling systems, and improving weatherization and home insulation…

It costs up front, but the writers have some ideas how B.C. (British Columbia) can help out its residents:

[U]pfront retrofit costs can be eliminated through innovative financing arrangements: loans provided to homeowners by municipalities, financial institutions, utilities or other funders can be paid back gradually through small payments on property taxes or utility bills. The financing obligations are included on a property tax bill as a surcharge until completely paid off, even if the property changes owners in the interim.

Sounds good to me.

The icebergs up here like the idea, too.



January 10, 2012

Do something with the help of Earth Justice

Maybe you’re like me and you want to have some kind of effect on your President’s administration, your Congressperson, a government agency, or any other person or organization that needs to listen.   First of all, I really hope you are, and thank you.  Second, since I’m a member of Generation Hot (shut up), I highly suggest you check out a very good website called Earth Justice.  (Their slogan is “Because the Earth needs a good lawyer.”  It used to be known as The Sierra Club, in case you’re old (no offense).

Do you like arctic foxes?  Isn’t this one cuuuuuuuuute?  Perfect, because that’s how I’m luring you into sending emails from their website.

Their “Action Center” is awesome.  They have various issues with a little story describing the problem, and totally-easy-to-fill-out form letters.

Are they effective?  I’m not totally sure, but I would obviously rather do it than not.  Plus, I posted a picture of a totally cuuuuuuuuute arctic fox for you, so you owe me one. C’mon, just check it out already.

December 14, 2011

Change By Us

“Hey NYC!  How can we make our city a greener, greater place to live?”

That’s the question that Change By Us wants you to help answer.  It’s an interactive place to share and read ideas on an interactive bulletin board, create or join a project, and reach out to a network of local leaders to get your idea heard.

Their homepage is a colorful electronic “bulletin board” where you can put your idea on a Post-It.  You can search other people’s ideas and projects, or start your own.

I think every city should have something like this.  The hard part is getting people to do stuff, right?  Sigh.  I know I’m only in high school, but I feel like it’s OK for me to say that in a jaded voice.

Later, Tater (tots).


November 27, 2011

Emily’s crusade against plastics

So, Polly’s post about the Chris Jordan and the Midway Atoll in the Pacific Ocean makes me want to never use anything plastic ever again.

I feel really inspired by a fellow student’s crusade against plastics.  Seventeen-year-old Emily Chartrand from British Columbia, Canada is working with Team Jordan on their Midway project as a student outreach ambassador.  She’s the president of Plastic Free Penticton Secondary School (amazing!) and a founding member of Plastic Free Penticton. She and her sister have operated their own successful small business for eight years, and the proceeds from their operation have helped fund working holidays to Mexico — where they worked with the families who live off the Puerto Vallarta garbage dump.

She’s available to speak to schools and organizations, and she has a blog.  I like what she says here a lot:

I know that being this actively involved in a cause while so young will not be easy. I have already faced many hard times that made me consider stopping everything I do but I now better understand that this is way too important to me and the world. I’m in this forever. I promise you all that! So as I go continue on my journey please keep checking back on my blog. I’m going to have some very interesting stories about travelling elsewhere to speak about plastic pollution!

You can keep up with Plastic Free Penticton on Facebook.  So do it!

November 9, 2011

Protect what you love

People who surf and raft and mountain bike are maybe sort of adrenaline junkies? But a lot of outdoor sports enthusiasts get intense about environmental activism, too. It makes total sense to me to try and respect and care for the outdoor terrain you love the most.

Surfrider protects oceans and beaches.  Protect Our Winters (with the awesome acronym, POW) raises awareness about the effect of climate change on high-altitude regions like mountains.

The Access Fund keeps all kinds of outdoor climbing areas open and conserves climbing environments.  The International Mountain Biking Association creates and preserves trails, and encourages low-impact riding, volunteering, and thinking of new trail management solutions.  And American Whitewater advocates for the preservation and protection of rivers in the US.

Chances are if you have a hobby or an activity you’re really into, there’s a way to get involved with an organization that can connect you to other people and do good for the environment.

So go hang ten and drink some X-treme beverages!   (That link really makes me laugh.)


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