Sunday, March 29, 2009

CASE STUDY: The Stimulus Bill and Renewable Energy

We Need Renewable Energy - Not Foreign Fossil ...Image by ^Berd via Flickr

The Stimulus Bill and Renewable Energy by Jerry Dyess

Part of the Stimulus Bill in Congress is dedicated towards Energy. In fact, $8.5 billion is earmarked for renewable energy projects.

So what is renewable energy? Renewable energy or green energy is electrical power that is produced from clean, renewable energy sources. Renewable energy comes from sources that are less or zero-polluting like wind, solar and water. By utilizing the wind or water to turn turbines, or the sun to heat fuel cells you can produce electricity that is free from the use of fossil fuels. Traditional power sources like coal and natural gas power plants emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and deplete our fossil fuels. Utilizing green energy reduces smog, greenhouse gases and air pollution.

How do you choose Green Energy? Well, if you have a choice in who supplies your electricity, you can choose by switching your Texas electric service to a retail electric provider that offers energy like wind power. If you don't have a choice in electric suppliers you can contact you current electric company and request renewable energy option credits. Most Texas electricity customers now have an option of utilizing a green energy product from their electricity supplier or by switching to a provider that has a renewable energy product. In fact, Texas now produces more wind power than any other state and aggressive plans to produce much more in the near future.

One of the most popular green energy options available is Green Mountain Energy (GME). GME is the largest retail provider of less-polluting electricity to residential and commercial customers in the U.S. and they have many plans to choose from. You can choose green energy credits or electricity service options like 100% wind power.

Many businesses are also taking notice to their impact on our natural resources. There has been a tremendous movement in the past few years to energy and companies are taking notice to their carbon footprint and their impact on the environment. Many companies are using green energy credits, and taking on comprehensive energy efficiency initiatives for their entire organization.

Hopefully the new Stimulus Bill and its publicity will inject more interested parties to renewable energy. The more people that choose to go green will obviously produce a wider the impact and further the development of renewable resources.

About the author - J. Dyess has specialized in Texas electricity ( for the past 7 years and has produced free reports on the Texas electricity market for the last five. You have full permission to reprint this article provided this box is kept unchanged.

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Ecotourism: Good or Bad for the Environment?

[ebook] Indigenous Ecotourism: Sustainable Dev...Image by Changhua Coast Conservation Action via Flickr

What is the Ecotourism Phenomenon by Gary B Miller

Environmental tourism concentrates on local cultures, wilderness excursions, volunteering, personal growth and learning new ways to live on our fragile planet. It is typically understood as travel to places where the flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the main attractions.

Responsible ecotourism includes programs that minimize the damaging effects of standard tourism on the natural environment, and improve the cultural integrity of the local people. Thus, in addition to evaluating environmental and cultural factors, initiatives by hospitality providers to promote recycling, energy efficiency, water recycling, and the instigation of economic opportunities for local indigenous communities are a vital part of environmental tourism.

Ecotourism is recognised as the fastest growing market in the tourism industry, as the World Tourism Organization state with an annual growth rate of just over 5% worldwide and representing 6% of the world gross domestic product, 11.3% of all consumer spending - therefore it is not a market to be taken lightly at all!

Around the World, eco-tourism is swiftly becoming one of the most popular forms of holidaying. In an age of increased environmental consciousness and accessibility to exotic areas, countries are fast promoting their natural resources as fodder for tourists. The balancing act with ecotourism is to maintain the natural resources while also promoting them and being able to accommodate large volumes of tourists.

Businesses are building camps and eco-lodges, and resource managers are designing trails and tours. Most of the popular eco-travel destinations have tenous eco-systems, however, so it is crucial to keep a steady balance between preserving and promoting - "sustainable development" - to ensure the long-term bouyancy of both the eco-systems and the economy yields that tourism brings.

Gary Miller

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CASE STUDY - Green Jobs Initiatives in New York State

2009 Ecotourism Spotlight AwardImage by planeta via Flickr

"Green" Jobs Offer a Promising Outlook in New York State by Tricia Folliero

Whether you are trying to give career advice to upcoming graduates deciding on a career direction or advising a professional who is recently unemployed, green jobs or sustainable energy careers are a promising path to take.

New York State is participating in a National Governor's Association Policy Academy on State Sector Strategies to collaborate with state leaders in an attempt to advance sector strategies and workforce development. Green jobs and renewable resources were listed as one of the three priority sectors which will be addressed - the other two being healthcare and advanced manufacturing. Their goal is to create employment opportunities for low-wage and high-wage sectors in these areas.

To achieve these goals, the NYS Department of Labor, in collaboration with the New York State Education Department, State University of New York and City University of New York, is immediately undertaking an inventory of existing workforce training programs and implementing recommendations to achieve the State's clean energy goals. The priority clean energy sectors to be focused on are Solar Energy, which consists of Photovoltaic and Solar Thermal; Wind Energy for both on-shore and off-shore applications; and Renewable Fuels, which includes both bio fuels and improved energy efficiency (weatherization).

In addition to the major job boards, some web sites that are becoming popular in searching for "green" careers are,,, (an offshoot of, and

The main thing to do when pursuing a "green job" is to first determine what area of this broad category would be of most interest to you - such as Ecotourism, green building architecture, waste management, sustainable energy, or green sustainable agriculture. Then focus in on the companies in your geographical area that are in a growth mode. By networking with different "green" industries, you will eventually find one that matches your talents. You will then be able to start a career in an industry you can feel great about. Hopefully, with continuing support from New York State, your career will be able to grow apace with the phenomenal growth projected for this vital, new business sector.

Tricia Folliero is a Vice President for Sanna Mattson MacLeod Inc:, a marketing and advertising firm, and directs their recruitment advertising division. She has more than 15 years experience in such areas as employer branding, recruitment marketing, hiring process re-engineering, web solutions and staffing technologies. She holds a BA in Business Administration from Stony Brook University, is a member of the Society of Human Resources Management, and serves as Chairperson of the One-Stop Committee of the New York State Department of Labor's Workforce Investment Board.

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The Language of Global Warming: What Does it All Mean?

Year-over-year increase of atmospheric CO 2Image via Wikipedia

Global Warming Terminology by Laura Goyer

Here's a guide that may help to clarify some of the terms frequently used in discussions about global warming.

The first term is carbon dioxide (or CO2). Carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is made up of two oxygen atoms bound to one carbon atom. It's used by the food, oil and chemical industries. Carbon dioxide creates carbonation in soft drinks, causes bread dough to rise, keeps ice cream frozen while it's being transported to the grocery store, and is used to remove caffeine from coffee. It inflates life vests and extinguishes fires. Carbon dioxide is used by welders, wine makers, dry cleaners and even by kids playing a game of paintball.

In the earth's atmosphere, carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. That means it transmits visible light but absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. Greenhouse gases determine the earth's temperature. Without them, our planet would probably be so cold it could not support human life. But the opposite is also true. Too much greenhouse gas in the atmosphere and our planet heats up. Global warming is another way of saying that average global temperatures have been steadily rising and increases in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are very likely to be the cause.

Human activity has a direct influence on the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. The term carbon footprint refers to a measurement of the amount of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an individual (or corporation, event or country). There are plenty of websites that will help you calculate your own carbon footprint.

Carbon reduction is just what is sounds like - steps taken to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Examples include taking the bus instead of driving your car, turning down the thermostat in your home, and using energy efficient CFL light bulbs. Ideally, we should all be aiming to be carbon neutral, which means we have a net zero carbon footprint. This is accomplished by balancing the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere with an equal amount offset or sequestered.

Carbon offsets can be purchased to neutralize the amount of greenhouse gases by funding projects which should cause an equal reduction of emissions somewhere else, such as tree planting. Under the premise "First reduce what you can, then offset the remainder", offsetting can be done by supporting a responsible carbon project or by buying carbon credits.

Carbon sequestration refers to the storage of carbon dioxide through biological, physical or chemical processes as a means of mitigating global warming. One very effective means of sequestering carbon is through reforestation. It has been proven that forests absorb carbon dioxide through their photosynthesis cycle, and most experts agree that increasing forests through reforestation will go a long way to help save our planet.

There are plenty of websites where you can purchase carbon offsets and/or support a carbon sequestration program. Green Chum is one such company. They sell carbon reduction certificates that can help you reduce your carbon footprint through reforestation. They are a relatively new company with an interesting business model that may go along way towards encouraging more people to take action in the fight against global warming.

Get Clean, Go Green and Make Money Doing It

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Green Drinking Water Solutions

Mwamanongu Village water source, Tanzania. &qu...Image via Wikipedia

Go Green With Rainwater Recovery by Jill Black

Traditionally, rainwater was collected, or harvested, in large below ground tanks, or cisterns. These tanks have a reputation for being difficult for storage and to maintain as well as not being realistic for residential applications. Today however, many companies are developing a wider variety of options, including tanks sized for residential homes. A few companies have even developed harvesting tanks appropriate for vacation and part-time homes.

Many of these options include smaller sized tanks that can be easily placed under decks or joists, alongside walkways or vertically against a wall. These features, coupled with the lack of space in many urban settings, make these modern rainwater harvesting tanks very appealing to earth-conscious homeowners. By contrast, rainwater harvesting tanks are also a good option for homeowners in rural settings where obtaining a supply of water from municipal sources is difficult.

There are a number of advantages to rainwater harvesting, including conservation of resources and utilities, and reduction of flooding and erosion. It also provides a healthy alternative to chemical treated water for plants and vegetation. The water quality is typically classified as between groundwater and surface water, making it useful in a number of applications. Generally, collected (or harvested) rainwater is suitable for all non-potable uses such as watering the lawn, washing the car, running a power washer, air conditioner make-up water, and even cold water toilet flushing and clothes washing.

Rainwater harvesting can be simple or complex depending upon the intended use for the product. In a simple harvesting system, the collected water is used immediately. At its most basic level, routing the gutter downspouts to a specific landscaping area can be considered a form of rainwater harvesting. On a more complex level, however, systems can incorporate elements of roof catchment, gutter and downspout routing, tank storage and irrigation or distribution systems. The more complex systems often require professional assistance and sometimes a permit depending upon local ordinances. It is best to contact your local green building industry expert.

An example of a modern rainwater harvesting is the Rainwater H2OG, which is available in two distinct designs. The company offers a potable water tank made from virgin food-grade polyethylene and a non-food-grade tank made with 15% recycled content. Both styles of tank hold approximately 50 gallons of water and even offer potable water options (with the food-grade tank and after proper filtration). This particular tank has been recognized by Environmental Building News as one of the Top-10 Green Building Products in 2008, a reward largely based upon the tank's functional, efficient and visually discreet characteristics. The Rainwater H2OG also represents the move towards accommodation of harvesting systems to residential applications.

In the long run, the overall return on investment for rainwater retention systems is very positive. From both a financial and environmental stewardship perspective, going "green" through rainwater retention is a first-class initiative for homeowners.

Jill works for Inside Realty. They have a site that covers Fort Worth Texas real estate. Statistic and market information is covered on its Fort Worth real estate blog.

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Setting Up for Self-Sufficiency

Hobby FarmImage by kevinthoule via Flickr

The Self Sufficient Life - Just the Beginning by Turina Hira

Sometimes an adventure finds you, sometimes you plan to go on an adventure. For us it is a bit of both.

The Ideas

At first when we discussed the possibility of setting up our small farm, we had lots of ideas, we wanted to be able to:

  • Most importantly eat great, homegrown food (most important to my family that is)

  • Grow almost everything we would need to feed our families

  • Make products from our crops and meat that would be sustain us as well as have some to share around either for profit or to give away

  • Be in a supportive environment, where you know you will get looked after, and what better group than with family

  • Get back to making things with our hands, doing the crafts that interest each individual

  • Making a viable biofuel to run any machinery we might have

  • Have a safe haven of sorts, not to run away and hide from the world, but somewhere our kids could run around and just be, well, kids

We shared our ideal dream farm with each other, every one of us having a different spin on the same idea. We wanted a self sufficient life, that would be an ideal safety net if the economy was to get worse, I won't say a fool proof safety net, but at least we'd be well fed!

So, that said, the most important thing for us to do now was to:

  1. Make a plan

  2. Find out how much we would approximately need to set this farm up

  3. And how much to upkeep it in the first few seasons before it became self sufficient

  4. Figure out who was to do what

  5. Decide what we were growing and how

This is where we are at, the research stage, we could have dropped everything and set up house straight away, but it is not in mine, or probably any of my family's nature to do so.

Researching the Facts and Fantasies

Our first stop was initially the library for an arm load of books, and the internet of course, where you can find almost any article, review, blog, website, etc. you wish on our ideas.

The question now is, after some research, what sort of self sufficient farm are we going to be?

It would be easy to get some land, put a quaint little farm house on it, putting in water, plumbing, and electricity from the main lines, put in what ever veges we want, buy a couple of cows, some sheep, chickens and a pig or two, and we'd have our happy little farm.

But as we are all too aware these days, we need to look deeper than our fairytale ideal. We need to consider our environment, or rather choose whether we will do so. To be sustainable or not, or even what that means, what sort of agricultural methods we will use, permaculture, grow organic or use pesticides, use green initiatives, be ecologically sound?

What will we use to power our village, solar, mains, wind, generator, bike power! Do we want to change our ways to help save the planet we are on, or could we get by doing the things we now, while the green crusaders are saving us?

To get these answers I am reading widely.

I joined a lot of forums, where I am posting these types of questions and getting some great feedback, and, doing a lot of internet research.

Plus, we are hoping to visit various ecovillages in New Zealand, transition towns, I know of one just outside of Sydney I am hoping to visit, and other developments, just to see what people are doing and how.

The future is exciting, hope you enjoyed the read and I hope you'll join me on any future updates.

I am a homeschooling mother, interested in this ideal of a self sufficient life, where my research will lead is an exciting prospect for me and my family.

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New Zeitgeist: Dealing with Recession and Climate Change

Cover of "An Inconvenient Truth"Cover of An Inconvenient Truth

Could the Global Financial Crisis Be the Window of Opportunity to Seriously Address Climate Change? by Alan Greenhalgh

It seems that in the face of the current global financial crisis we have all but forgotten a much greater issue, one with ramifications of monumental and potentially catastrophic proportions.

We are missing a window of opportunity to tackle both climate change and the global financial crisis.

As long ago as November 1992, a document signed by sixteen hundred of the world's leading scientists, including half of all the Nobel Prize winners at that time, issued a warning to all humanity that human beings and the natural world were on a collision course. The document listed all the pending crises in the atmosphere, water resources, soils, the oceans, forests, biodiversity and over-population.

The same eminent persons warned that no more than one or a few decades at the most remained to avert the threat of vast human suffering and misery and admonished world leaders that great changes in our stewardship of the Earth and its resources were needed to avoid the irretrievable mutilation of our global home.

Alas, humanity has virtually ignored these most astoundingly important pronouncements, losing nearly two decades in which we could and should have begun the introduction of tangible measures to preserve and protect the biosphere against further harm.

There is little doubt that every year lost has contributed massively to the potential hardships and suffering that our children and grandchildren will endure.

Is global warming part of Earth's natural cycle?

Scientists tell us that approximately one hundred million years ago when the continents were arranged differently, Earth was in fact 5 to 15 degrees (C) warmer than it is today. Of course that was long before the existence of Homo sapiens. Then, as the continents drifted apart, the planet cooled steadily. Ice core samples taken from the Arctic show that over the last nine thousand years the Earth's temperature has been relatively stable.

That stability lasted until the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. However, since that time, there has been a marked rise in temperature. Because the temperature rise has been over a relatively short period and it has coincided with increased greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and de-forestation, there can be little doubt that the progressive heating of the planet is due to man's activities. Nevertheless, temperature increase has been most marked since the 1950's when consumerism became the Western World's new code for living and factories geared for the war effort, switched to pumping out products for the new "throw away" age.

With the emergence of China and India's industrial economies that are now pumping seemingly endless volumes of harmful pollutant gases into the atmosphere, the rate at which temperatures are escalating each year is sounding alarm bells around the world.

Al Gore in his sensational cinematographic epic The Inconvenient Truth brought the message home to millions. Except for diehard sceptics, Gore finally dispelled the last vestige of arguments asserting that global warming is merely a natural phenomenon. Since Gore's movie many climate scientists have in fact backed calls for a "global-wide call to arms" in the fight against potentially fatal climatic changes.

Unfortunately, to this day, some hold the belief that only one or two degrees spread over the next fifty or so years will make little difference. Regrettably for the world, there are many politicians and business leaders among these deniers of the facts.

These ill-informed folk should speak to those residing on low lying nations such as Tuvalu, The Maldives, Bangladesh and many coastal areas of just about every nation that's not landlocked. They would soon discover unfortunate folk of these and many other nations are under imminent threat from rising sea levels.

In addition to the growing inundation of heavily populated nations, we are already experiencing an increase in the severity and frequency of devastating tornadoes, cyclones and storms. Most climatologists now attribute these events and changing weather patterns to the over-heating of our planet.

Droughts have also increased in severity and duration, while polar ice caps along with all of the world's glaciers and the Greenland ice shelf are melting at alarming rates. Africa's and Asia's deserts continue to expand, forcing many poor communities to abandon traditional homelands, throwing greater strain upon the ability of impoverished and bankrupt nations to respond to the growing number of the new ecological refugees.

Vector-born diseases such as malaria and encephalitis are now becoming common in areas previously immune from such threat.

As crops regularly fail through lack of rain, starvation is a growing problem while in the planet's oceans, many marine species are under threat of extinction from higher seawater temperatures, increased acidification, the loss of corals and sea grasses and the rapid proliferation of marine vermin such as the Crown of Thorns starfish.

Meanwhile, grass has been discovered growing in the arctic for the first time. While this enables some creatures to move closer to the North Pole, many species such as polar bears and emperor penguins which are dependent upon cold conditions are threatened with extinction. Flowers are blossoming, birds are migrating and frogs breeding 2 to 3 days earlier with each passing decade and while some life forms flourish in warmer temperatures, others have been forced from their habitats. With the thawing of vast areas of tundra, massive quantities of methane (which is five times more damaging that CO2) are being released into the atmosphere exacerbating the already critical problem we blithely call, "the greenhouse effect."

The world's oceans affect our weather more than many realise. They are in fact, massive natural engines driving climates and weather patterns across the globe. As warm water from the equator is driven northward by wind and air currents, evaporation and the formation of sea ice contribute to the density of arctic seawater which then cools, sinks and returns southward again.

In 2004, submarine exploration beneath the arctic ice cap discovered that only two of the seven gigantic cold water columns that help drive ocean circulation were functioning. Alarmed scientists reported that global warming is threatening the ability of these currents to operate. They found the remaining columns were pathetically weak in comparison to their normal function, raising speculation that rising temperatures may completely shut down thermohaline circulation with potentially catastrophic consequences for Northern Europe, Russia and The United Kingdom.

There is no longer any doubt that the major cause of entire ecosystems collapsing is anthropogenic, although such factors as the Earth's orbital path, volcanic eruptions on the sea floor and beneath the arctic ice, gravitational changes, energy from deep space and sun spot activity all play a part. However, where changes in temperature result from such causes, the Earth's ecosystems could probably compensate and adapt without significant harm to life. On the other hand, the planet's complex systems are clearly unable to cope with man's intervention.

Because there are so many factors contributing to the climate change debate, scientists really do not know what will happen within the next five years let alone the next fifty. Nevertheless, few would deny the devastating consequences of man's impact upon the planet, or that these will continue for thousands of years even if we were to halt all greenhouse gas emissions tomorrow (and that's obviously not going to happen).

Despite the best efforts of scientists so far, most predictions and prognoses have proved inaccurate. For example, the rates at which the arctic icecap is melting, the disappearance of glaciers and changing weather patterns have exceeded the worst predictions.

If there is a collapse or further significant slowing of thermohaline circulation, no one knows whether Northern Europe will become appreciably warmer, cooler, or even plunge into a new ice-age!

Most climate experts would now agree, we cannot afford to adopt a wait and see approach while climate change boffins continue with more computer modelling and study the complex web of interdependent factors.

Even if we still believe that global warming and climate change are just part of the Earth's natural cycles, the outcomes will be the same as if they are anthropogenic. There will be massive misery and suffering if we fail to act now.

Merely reacting to changing circumstances will not suffice; we must become super-proactive and assume that worst-case scenarios will become our reality. We must rapidly implement counter-measures and form long term plans to cope with a crisis that is unprecedented in ferocity and magnitude since the history of man.

Meanwhile, back to the global economic meltdown. While the pain of industry bankruptcies, mortgage foreclosures and job loss is very real in the hardships inflicted upon those most affected, we cannot afford to drop the ball when it comes to climate change. Indeed, the suffering we are now experiencing as a consequence of corporate greed, and the undoubted lack of appropriate checks and balances on lending, will seem insignificant compared with the prognosis of many of the world's top scientists, should we fail to heed their warnings.

In the hope of boosting consumption, governments appear to be almost throwing money at national economies with "bailout" packages and handouts to citizens, while many are left wondering if it is a gigantic gamble that's destined to fail. After all, when any individual spends more than he or she earns, thus ending up owing creditors, isn't it responsible and logical to knuckle down, work hard, repay debts and live within one's means?

Surely, when in financial trouble, any sane person wouldn't go out and borrow more money and spend it just to maintain a lifestyle which has proved disastrously extravagant? Haven't too many of us been living in a fool's paradise of rampant consumerism and excessive personal luxury? Is the plight of the nation any different just because it is on a much bigger scale? Didn't the economic house of cards have to come crashing down at some point?

Where should taxpayer's money be going?

Maybe, the strategy of borrowing against the future to ease present pain will work, but is it fiscally responsible to prop up industries based on fossil-fuel technologies when oil reserves are running out and environmental costs of polluting the biosphere at current rates will spell our demise?

If we are going to mortgage our children's future, should we not be looking at spending money on infrastructure projects that will not cause further environmental damage and will improve the quality of life for our citizens in the future? This would seem the right moment to also accelerate the development and introduction of environmentally sustainable technologies and other measures with maximum long-term benefits to all humanity?

Here are some worthwhile suggestions where government subsidies could have lasting benefits:

1. Establishment of giant solar power plants similar to that due to come on line in California
2. Solar, wind, geothermal hot rock (GHR) and tidal power
3. Hybrid motor vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell and electric cars and other technologies yet to evolve
4. Solar hot water systems, thin-film photovoltaic cells
5. Double glazing and eco-friendly buildings and homes
6. Water tanks, grey water systems
7. Household water treatment systems that re-use water over and over
8. Domestic wind turbines
9. Research into the development of "water from air" devices
10. Making current buildings and homes energy efficient
11. Designing new buildings for sustainability
11. Better city and town planning which discourages automobile usage and encourages patronage of energy efficient, zero emission public transport

Injection of capital in such areas would undoubtedly create new jobs. In addition, by offering incentives to existing companies, who are currently struggling to survive and urging them to divert productive capacity into the examples outlined may save countless jobs which could otherwise be lost.

Australia, like many nations has vast deserts and straddles latitudes from tropical to temperate zones. Traditionally, the nation's food bowl has been in the cooler south, however, these agriculturally productive areas are drought-stricken and have been for so for several years, devastating production. The hotter north now bears the brunt of more severe cyclones and their inherent flooding.

While the large percentage of the country's population has dealt with water restrictions, abundant rains fill northern catchments to overflowing with much of this water running to waste in the oceans. Met with cries of, "too expensive," proposals to pipe water from northern dams, rivers and lakes to satiate the south's needs never get passed the drawing board, but perhaps should be revisited with an eye on drought-proofing the nation and assuring it is able to play its part in feeding a world whose hunger grows exponentially each year.

More now than ever before, we need leaders with vision and courage and if viewed through a different perspective, the global economic crisis might just be a blessing in disguise.

Alan Greenhalgh is a former New Zealand Police Sergeant and Inspector in The Australian Protective Service, a division of the Federal Police tasked with providing counter terrorist response and diplomatic and consular protection.

As a former member of the N.Z. Police Search and Rescue, Diving, Armed Offenders and elite Team Policing Squads, Alan was also tasked with controlling local gang elements in New Zealand. He has many enthralling anecdotes in his repertoire of police life and is well qualified to write about the human condition. He was the first security manager for Western Australia's parliament house and having completed a major security review resigned to pursue a career in private enterprise. After working for two years as a private investigator he retired to pursue a long held dream to write.

Throughout Alan's careers he authored various in-house manuals and as a security analysts wrote may publications covering matters predominantly related to security, although in his spare time he studied the writer's craft and composed bush ballads.

To learn more about climate change and help pressure governments and world leaders to act meaningfully, go to the not-for-profit website:

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CASE STUDY: EPA to Mandate Carbon (CO2) Emissions Tracking and Reporting

Carbon emissions from various global regions d...Image via Wikipedia

EPA to Mandate Carbon (CO2) Emissions Tracking and Reporting by Daniel Stouffer

The U.S. EPA and other international government agencies have stated that carbon dioxide is a great danger to the health of the public in general and will be strictly regulated in the near future. Measuring, managing, and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions puts in place the foundation for future carbon emissions trading schemes within the United States.

Around the country a comprehensive initiative, which includes mandatory carbon emissions reporting has been introduced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the intention of controlling carbon dioxide (CO2) and greenhouse gases (GHGs) that have an effect on global climate change. Unfortunately, some substances like refrigerant gases not only have high global warming potential but they also destroy the ozone layer when emitted into the atmosphere.

The European Union has worked on carbon emissions reductions as part of The Kyoto Protocol for a number of years. At a meeting planned in late 2009, global leaders in the fight against climate change will rework and redefine the next set of rules to follow The Kyoto Protocol. The U.S. under the leadership of President Obama plan to be active participants.

As part of the draft greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations, any organization that uses refrigerant gases or other regulated substances would be required to comply with mandatory carbon emissions reporting. In addition to refrigerant gases, the following 6 chemical compounds all factor into a comprehensive carbon accounting. The Kyoto Protocol establishes legally binding commitments for the reduction of four greenhouse gases; carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), and two groups of refrigerant gases; CFCs and PFCs).

Refrigerant gases are known to affect the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. Numerous gases are listed in the EPA regulations including nitrous oxide, methane, carbon dioxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, nitrogen trifluoride, and ethers. Refrigerant gases, such as hydrofluorocarbons (CFCs), must be managed, tracked, and reported under the existing Montreal Protocol. There is some cross-over between the different regulations that restrict harmful emissions. The good news is any CO2 related tracking will further enhance emissions management practices already in place across an organization.

The EPA's mandatory carbon emissions reporting plan comes into effect in 2010. Companies must file a first report in 2011 covering the previous year. These requirements cover those facilities with HVAC systems, refrigeration and AC systems, companies that make industrial chemicals, as well as fossil fuels, engines and automobiles. Many industrial chemicals harm the environment by destroying the ozone layer or enhancing global warming. The following chemicals, such as refrigerant gases, lead to harmful effects on the environment: chlorofluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons, halons, methyl chloroform, chlorine, fluorine, bromine and carbon tetrachloride amongst others.

The U.S. Clean Air Act, in addition to the mandatory emissions reporting by amounts, calls for facilities and municipalities alike to monitor and track and subsequently report harmful substances, such as refrigerant gases that are in common use. Companies that fail to comply face heavy penalties, not only in the form of fines from the EPA but also due to financial losses when carbon trading and the concepts of carbon credits become pervasive across the economy.

A business can address mandatory carbon emissions reporting in two ways. Monitoring and tracking can be handled manually and the reports completed by hand. However this approach can be very time-consuming and error-prone, and many will opt to use a software program or a web-based application to automatically handle the monitoring and tracking requirements of greenhouse gases (GHGs).

Automation helps to ensure that reports are accurate and timely. Service automation or CMMS systems can lead the way to effective company operations. It is more efficient to maintain assets at optimal working conditions and collect relevant carbon related emissions data across distributed enterprises or systems.

Mandatory carbon emissions reporting will definitely lower this country's greenhouse gas emissions. The government has said that 13,000 facilities are responsible for between 85 and 90% of the harmful substances in the air.

The U.S., by enacting a carbon emissions management, tracking, and reporting protocol, helps to educate and lead organizations of all sizes down a path that will lower overall carbon emissions. This will help reduce global warming, tighten the efficiencies of many organizations, and ultimately lead to a more sustainable future. This initiative is being repeated at various locations worldwide with the aim of addressing climate change head on - in as straightforward of a manner with immediate financial incentives to drive rapid and economy wide adoption of carbon reduction and market-based trading.

Clean-Tech solutions provided by Verisae help to manage the carbon (CO2) emissions tracking and reporting requirements across an entire organization. Verisae makes it easier to report carbon emissions and track refrigerant gases. To learn about effective refrigerant gas management tactics, you can visit

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Ecology and Economy - New Zeitgeist Forming?

It's the economy, stupid!Image by net efekt via Flickr

The Eco Twins Have Arrived by John Caris

The Eco Twins are upon us, forcing us to re-evaluate our attitudes and correct our assumptions. In popular jargon they are at bat in the bottom of the ninth with no outs and the score is at the moment tied.

Who are these Twins? They are the ever-present natural powers of ecology and social economy. Ecology and economy - what is their basic meaning? Both words are derived from the Greek: eco means house; logy, from which the word "logic" is derived, order or arrangement; nomy implies management.

So ecology designates the ordering or relationship of the parts to each other and to the whole house. And economy deals with household management. Obviously, we humans with all our fancy technology are failing in both areas. The more pessimistic argue that we have already turned the corner and cannot prevent disaster. The more optimistic contend that humans still have the opportunity to alleviate total disaster by acting now. Not tomorrow but now. Will we?

The first step is to let go of our arrogance based on the false notion that change is progress is improvement is desirable. If that were correct, then of course we would not be facing such a catastrophe.

A specific type of technology is not inherently superior or inferior to other technologies. Here lies another level of our modern arrogance: contemporary technology is superior to all earlier ones. A false premise is that the latest or newest is the best. And of course if everyone is doing it, using it, what can be wrong with it?

We believe we must help the less fortunate who don't have the latest iPod, computer game, or gadget. Should we force these products on them so they can be like us, the superior ones? Yes, the greater the pride the harder the fall. And what will these 'less fortunate' give up for the latest gadgets? Why, the only thing they have - their natural resources and their social identity and culture.

A historical example will clarify the idea. Many cultures peopled the Americas in pre-contact times. Some have been dated as far back as twelve thousand B.C. and others may be even older. These civilizations were as brilliant and sophisticated as those in other parts of the world. In the United States the most significant cultures were the Chacoans in the Colorado Plateau region and the Mound Builders in the Midwest and South, centering along the Mississippi and its tributaries.

Many archaeologists have proposed that the Chacoans had developed the greatest civilization north of Mexico. From the mid-800s through the 1200s, Chaco Canyon, carved out by the Chaco River that flows into the San Juan River, embraced eleven large settlements containing buildings, some four stories high, with hundreds of rooms. The Chacoan great houses and large kivas utilized five different styles of stone masonry for wall structures built from sandstone.

Besides the eleven large settlements, many small farming homesteads were scattered throughout the canyon. Hundreds of miles of wide roads leading to outlying districts radiated out from the Chacoan center. Chacoans devised an extraordinary celestial calendar that disclosed exact knowledge of solar, lunar, and stellar cycles. Buildings and roads were aligned to mark the passage of the heavenly movements.

Many other stone settlements with housing for hundreds were built throughout the Colorado Plateau region. Well-known ruins are located at Mesa Verde near the Mancos River, Aztec on the Animas River, Hovenweep north of the San Juan River, and Wupatki west of the Little Colorado River.

The residents eventually abandoned their settlements, though, and we are uncertain of their reasons; climate definitely played an important role. After a twenty year drought at the end of the 1000s, a more severe drought, lasing fifty years, hit the area in the mid-1100s. Another drought occurred during the last twenty-five years of the 1200s. Dry climate conditions, more or less severe, continued for another two hundred years or so. Drought has brought down many civilizations.

Contemporary Puebloan people living in the Colorado Plateau region are descendants of those who built the great settlements. And the Puebloan people have learned from their ancestors the art of survival in a rather dry environment. But what about the citizens of Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and other metropolitan areas of the Southwest - will they learn in time to prevent disaster?

At the bottom of it all, the nexus of the our existential condition is that the Eco Twins do not care about any of us humans, whether we are the superior ones or not. Our species is no more important than any other, perhaps even less. Do we really understand the thinking of the Eco Twins? Do we have a hot line to them? Are we their friends? What is our role as humans in the ongoing cosmic drama of existence?

We talk about a global village, a global marketplace, a global playground here on spaceship earth. Too often we forget that earth has limited resources and many of them are nearing depletion. The time is here to borrow and apply ideas and perspectives from all human cultures, past and present.

We can begin with our sense of self, an individual living as a part of a community; we are both single and connected. From this awareness grows self-responsibility. What we do affects us personally and the whole community. Native Americans speak about "all our relatives." We are all related: everything - animal, plant, and mineral - are linked together. We are all made from the same chemical stuff, as everything in the universe is. For those of us residing on spaceship earth with its physical boundaries we will survive together or not. True, some of our ancestral microorganisms, from which we evolved, may survive even if the more complex creatures become extinct.

Reality has areas, shadows, that we cannot seen into and have little or no knowledge of. Ancient people were aware of these places and acknowledged their existence, even if their understanding from the modern view seems primarily fanciful.

Today scientists studying the cosmos state that most of the universe is in the shadows, unobservable and so unintelligible - dark matter that fills the universe. Ancient people, though without our contemporary technology, had ways of connecting to the shadows and accepting it as an important part of their reality.

These anomalous ways of knowing, considered irrational or superstitious by some, have been used for thousands of years. If they are acknowledged at all, they are considered a personal gift of mental and physical power. When a society rejects large areas of knowledge as false and demeans those with extraordinary ways of knowing, can it survive with the Eco Twins in the ascendant and battering down the portal? Those interested in alternative forms of knowing should read Elizabeth L. Mayer's Extraordinary Knowing, which investigates these inexplicable mental powers from a scientific viewpoint.

Technology groupies who place their faith in a technological fix should remember their responsibility for the mess we are in. We all need to participate in the clean-up and repair: it's our well-being at stake.

We are ending a twenty-eight year economic cycle that began in 1981. Based on Reaganomics, which some had called voodoo economics back in 1980, the global marketplace is in disarray. Its center is filled with foolish desires enhanced by greed. A gambler's charisma has enveloped the marketplace, laying a mantle of reckless judgment upon our leaders.

If the meltdown were not so serious, it would become a popular comedy on the cosmic stage. Supposed rational creatures built and managed the greatest economic superstructure the world has ever seen. It was thought natural, and although it would have its ups and downs, it would maintain itself indefinitely without serious harm. Famous economic prophets were dumbfounded, confessing their errors, when the system unraveled.

Nature has laws, limits, and regulations. Economic leaders have forgotten this basic fact. They were confused by the Gambler's charisma - luck was on their side. The Twins have now arrived and are confirming nature's laws. Nature has its own cycles, and our human affairs are a tributary of its flowing. An interesting side note is that the twenty-eight cycle is based on the lunar cycle. Perhaps the moon is having her say.

Indigenous societies have discerned the methods and techniques to stay within nature's guidelines and balance their lifestyle to fit into their sacred place harmoniously. Can we moderns learn from them and develop a society that does the same?

Using a form of stereovision, we can see ways in which the Twins are working together. Severe drought is occurring in large areas of the country, in particular the regions of fastest population growth. These are the regions where housing values are dropping and foreclosures are mounting. The population has exceeded its limits, and the Twins are applying pressure from two sides.

We have over-polluted the planet - destroying the air, water, and earth. We now have an excellent opportunity to forsake the harmful industries and craft green ones, transforming a dying planet into a garden of life. The choice and responsibility are ours.

© 2009 All rights reserved

Visit Ye Olde Consciousness Shoppe at for other enlightening and engaging writings and images. The first two chapters of Hermes Beckons, my newest book, and the complete edition of my first two books have been posted for your online reading pleasure.

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CASE STUDY: Everyone Can Do Their Bit - Canada Post Office

A Canada Post mailbox.Image via Wikipedia

Kudos to Canada Post Office For Taking on the Climate Crisis by Laura Goyer

That's right. I'm actually giving a shout out to the Post Office! It surprises me probably as much as it surprises you, but they have recently done something that truly impressed me.

Like a lot of people, I live in a condominium, and like most multi-family dwellings, our building has a group of mailboxes in an area near the entrance. Almost everyday when I go down and open my mailbox, there is at least one piece of junk mail stuffed inside.

Maybe I've received the latest menu for the pizza joint down the street, or some coupons so I can buy one Big Mac and get a 2nd one for free. Or maybe it's an ad from a real estate agent who would love to help me sell my condo, or a flyer for the big "One Day Only" Sale at one of the many furniture stores in town.

Some thoughtful individual (properly one of the members of our strata committee) has placed a nice big box right below our mailboxes so that everyone has a place to toss their unwanted mail, and judging from how full it is everyday, the volume is more than significant.

Today when I went to check my mail, I found a letter from Canada Post advising me that they want to respect my wishes with regards to all of this unaddressed "Admail". In the letter they asked me to choose whether I want to receive it or not. If I decide to opt out, they will no longer deliver any free samples, coupons, flyers, circulars, government mailings, municipal services notices, free distribution magazines, catalogues or non-profit and event information. They will, however, still deliver Elections Canada and other Electoral mailings.

All I have to do is fill out the form and put it back in my mailbox. My Letter Carrier will then place a marker in the mailbox as a reminder of my choice. And that's it. No more unaddressed junk mail delivered to my mailbox. Why is this such a good thing? Because less junk mail will help lesson our impact on the environment.

I've checked with Canada Post and confirmed that this program is available to anyone who receives door to door, group, community or postal box delivery. If you would like to find out how you can participate in their Consumer Choice Program, visit them online at Canada

Way to go Canada Post!

Get Clean, Go Green and Make Money Doing It

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Moving Business to Green Practice

7 Good Bad Or Ugly Green Energy Trends Which Will Affect Your Bottom Line by Gary W Patterson

We all love Mother Earth. If the devil is in the details, applying here as it does in most areas of life and business, how do we move to the next step of a greener world? What does it really mean to your company to actually operate in a greener world, and how soon will it happen? Logically most companies will see some benefits (good), some drawbacks (bad) and some will face major problems (ugly).

Consider how the following seven strategic "green energy" trends will impact your industry and your business in particular.

  1. Bottom line benefit case studies from sustainable pioneers going green are starting to appear in the Wall Street Journal, other major business publications, and possibly your local newspaper.
  2. Technology can help. Website and software tools are available to calculate the carbon footprint for your company, as one of the first steps to understanding the various aspects of instituting green practice for your company. That capability can help a company research, define and then estimate its carbon footprint. The ability to include its entire worldwide supply chain helps better plan for the transition to a greener carbon footprint. Basically this quantifies targeted emissions for reduction to some government mandated level for your industry or country.
  3. After estimating the carbon emission of your carbon footprint versus the mandated quantity, carbon tax can be estimated at a given carbon tax rate per ton. Soon to follow will be footnote disclosure and then recording the carbon footprint liability. This will be massive for some companies. The higher the carbon footprint quantity and the higher the tax rate, the higher the tax liability for targeted industries.
  4. Think of people in prior generations protesting the Vietnam War or chaining themselves to trees to prevent logging operations. Companies need to better understand the passion, even fervor, of green energy advocates who demand that business formulate and implement green initiatives.
  5. A "green washing" backlash is developing when clean energy advocates think corporate green claims are overstated. Remember, they define how green your activities must be, not your executives.
  6. You will soon see pressure from your larger customers for you to meet greener mandates they have put in place. If you want to continue doing business with a number of blue-chip companies, you will be meeting their goals of greener operations as part of their strategic planning. Since it is easier for corporate level executives and strategists to make a decision than for their suppliers to actually make those strategies work, be prepared.
  7. Many clean energy advocates are concerned about the backlash already building against going green. As more details of the magnitude and cost of proposed carbon tax legislation and the extent of its use of proceeds for Congressional leadership approved or non job creation purposes are apparent, a backlash against that Congressional leadership plan is building. To the extent that the job creation justification actually is used to fund a welfare system tax, backlash will accelerate.

Advocates see a much overdue environmentally transition. Other experts are concerned that the carbon tax being discussed will destroy more jobs than are created in the green sector. Whatever tax is enacted and undoubtedly revised, companies must plan and prepare for a range of conditions from strong benefits and opportunities to substantial, even massive, associated rising costs that such a tax will produce. Every industry and most businesses will see good, bad or ugly aspects from the greener world. How prepared are you?

Bottom line? - What is the cost of what you don't know?

Stop Profit Leaks Now. Apply this information to improve your profitability, re-engineer business models, and strengthen or gain competitive advantage in the marketplace. And apply the free Fiscal Test available at

From the author of the forthcoming book, 'Stick Out Your Balance Sheet & Cough: Best Practices for Long Term Business Health'.

From Gary W Patterson,

Copyright 2009

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How Can we Recycle Computers Safely?

Computers ready for recycling at an event at O...Image via Wikipedia

Computer Recycling - The Hazards of Landfills by JD Fontaine

What happens to your old computers, monitors, keyboards, mouse, etc, once you've upgraded to the latest model? Are you just taking them to the local landfill? This article will outline the hazards with computer recycling and what should be done with your old computers once you have upgraded.

What's the big deal anyway? The old computers can just go out with all our other rubbish. The biggest concern is with CRTs and the monitors which contain approximately 4 pounds of lead per unit. The lead cannot be physically broken down like other waste and over time the whole landfill will become contaminated from the lead toxin's.

I think we know all the dangers associated with lead poisoning and the health problems that can occur including:

• Learning disabilities
• Behaviour problems
• Seizures
• Coma
• Death

If that's not enough there are also lead toxins seeping into local streams from the computers being dumped at the local landfill. No wonder the planet is in dire need of repair.

The right way to dispose of these environmental hazards is to check with your community to see if there is a program set up to receive older CRTs and TVs for recycling. Where I live there is a central point where we could go to drop of all our old computers and electronic gadgets that we no longer want or need.

No matter what the item is that you want to recycle, there is a way to do it. All you need to do is make a phone call or two and you will have done your part to follow the recycling laws, and do your bit to help clean up the planet. So that about raps up this article, next time you upgrade to that brand new computer do the right thing and recycle that old computer and any unwanted gadgets.

"Why not go one step further and build your very own solar energy generator? Go here to earth4energy. Once you've built your generator just think of the savings. "What recession you say", don't forget to tell other family members and friends. If you need to read more on solar energy then go here to find out more. Join the hundreds who have already built there own generators go there now.

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