Airline Industry Accounts for 2% of Global Warming, CO2 Emissions

I’m attending a forum on IT Government Leadership learning about the NextGen program from the FAA. This billion dollar program is modernizing our airline transportation through GPS, weather forecasting, digitizing the analog, and much much more.

The environmental impact of this program primarily concerns fuel use. Doing so though updating and simplifying flight routes, allowing for glide paths to landings (instead of stop-n-go). The net benefit should mean lower fuel costs for airlines, maybe lower ticket prices, and definitely less fuel use. This picture highlights the expected fuel and time savings of the program:

Environmental Impact of NextGen FAA Airline Modernization Program

The NextGen program takes their commitment to the environment one step further focusing on expected growth and global warming.

“The net system-wide effect cannot be offset by increased growth. Additional measures are needed, and we are aggressively pursuing these measures under NextGen.”

This means quieter and cleaner aircraft using clean energy and a portfolio program “to mature and accelerate promising new technologies”. They are also partnering with the ICAO and international aviation group bringing together the world’s airlines to focus on Global Warming.

The ICAO presents the data sets that show the airline industry contributing 2% of global warming. The FAA has partnered with this group to commit to increasing fuel efficiency by 2% every year from 2009 to 2050.

These days it is still surprising to find groups like these working towards saving the planet, but someday soon it will not be surprising it will be expected.

Events from DC’s Field to Fork

This month’s DC Field to Fork newsletter just came in and there are plenty of fun urban gardener events to attend.

Events

Thurs, Jun 3 & Sat, Jun 5
Invasive Plant Lecture and Field Workshop: Learn to identify and combat invasive plants, free.

Sat, Jun 5
22nd Annual Clean The Chesapeake Bay, for 3 hours join volunteers all over the Chesapeake, free.

Mon, Jun 7
DC Green Drinks at 1905 Restaurant featuring Clean Currents, 630pm, free.

Sat, Jun 12
Nerd Nite at DC9: presentations on mad science, wall street gremlins, and sexy apes. All proceeds benefit the Washington Youth Garden, $10.

Sat – Sun, Jun 12 – 13
Food and Wine Festival at National Harbor. $60-70.

Fri, Jun 18
The Chesapeake Urban Farming Summit: One day summit featuring keynotes and breakout sessions. $75.

Sat, Jun 19
DC Crop Mob: Volunteer on a Farm with Friends. Free and their are carpool rides to Middleburg, VA.

Sat, Jun 26
Common Good’s Growing Herbs in Your Garden. Donation or free, register early!

America’s Favorite Farmers Market

Vote for your favorite market!

photo from the DC Field to Work Network website

Spotted: DC Resident Philippe Cousteau in Gulf Oil Spill

Rad. Philippe is down in the gulf. The reports are coming out very heroic and being blasted over CNN and the major news sites.

Here is one CNN report:

Philippe Cousteau Jr, the grandson of famous marine biologist, Jacques Cousteau, recently scuba dived into an area of the Gulf that was affected by the spill and said it was an “absolute nightmare”.

Cousteau also said that a chemical dispersant being used to absorb the oil isn’t working as it should be.

“We were about 15 to 20 feet down and it was dispersed into smaller and smaller particles throughout the water column in these billowing clouds that were just circling us, encompassing us in this toxic soup,” Cousteau told CNN.

“It was very, very alarming.”

Cousteau also wrote on his blog that his grandfather, Jacque would have been “horrified” by the spill.

A quick glance over to Philippe’s blog shows that he is indeed on-site and writing about it:

…as the oil penetrates the vegetation it kills it and leaves bare soil to be washed away, which will decimate this once vital and productive eco-system. “We are seeing birds covered in oil during the height of nesting season and tar is washing up on the beaches,” they explained. There was real concern in their voices, people who have grown up here and who are now watching the entire ecosystem and economic bases of the community fall apart before their eyes.

Finally, a video that looks like CNN reporter Sam Champion bogarted Philippe. Reporting all the same stuff as Philippe but doing so in the first person and even showing himself diving in the water (they do eventually talk about Philippe). Hmmm, who do you think is the real diver here?

Community Feedback on the Year Ahead

It’s been a little over 8 months since A Clean Life was brought into the world. It was quite an odd birth.

I had this idea. That’s it just an idea.

I began telling friends, family, and coworkers about it. To my amazement it ignited their passions. They enthusiastically encouraged me to keep developing the idea. Some began researching on their own and reporting back to me. Nearly all started telling me about anything environmentally friendly they were doing.

It was like standing up in a large room and having everyone look at you all of sudden. Then you mumble something about a good idea. Instantly every hand is raised and waiting to tell you something. I remember thinking that this was crazy. I mean how could I ignore such a reaction. What if I did ignore it.

I didn’t. I listened to the community, gauged its needs, and presented an idea. The results in my own life and those around me have been astounding. I tremble when I think of myself before A Clean Life. I am similarly shocked when I think of the changes others have made.

It has truly been awe inspiring. Thank you to all who are a part of the Clean Life community.

Community Feedback

As time rolls on and 2010 gets started we have some great plans to share. Our goals for the upcoming year are beginning to take shape:

  • Recycling in DC.
  • Farmers markets in the WMA – DC/MD/VA.
  • Create a philanthropic fund (achieve permanent funding for community initiatives).
  • And, most interestingly – lifestyle coaching.

These represent several weeks of brainstorming and research. The greatest opportunity to make the change that A Clean Life was created for.

As I begin to write up the strategy plan and call the board to order, I want some of your feedback. What do you think of them? What would you like to see me do?

Further, if you have been touched in any way by A Clean Life, please, share your story. Tell us what changes you made. Tell what you struggled with. Tell us what you need.

Your feedback is important!

The Great DC Bag Experiment

skip-the-bag-web4

Starting January 1 of this year (2010) everybody in the district will be coughing up 5 cents to get a plastic or paper bag from every place that sells food or alcohol. That’s right we’ve reached the point where American laziness is preventing progress and we are switching to forceful laws (aka progressive taxation).

It’s really a test of environmental will which I’m calling the ‘great DC bag experiment‘.  The revenue from the bag tax will go towards cleaning up the Anacostia River. A laudable cause. Even a progressive one. In this day/age when we have given up on our rivers the DC City Council is making a play.

Dig a little deeper and you can find an interesting swirl of facts. Like this being a tax on the poor, avoiding the rich who already own reusable bags. But, the green.dc.gov website shows that over 460,000 reusable bags will be given out. With less that 600,000 people in the district that covers 76% of all residents. Assuming the reusable bags can get to the less fortunate in DC, this is almost a non-issue. There appears to be some enlightened leadership in our DC government (gasp!).

Then we can talk about laziness. Or, better yet, this whole reusable bag thing is an issue of the well off. I mean who among the poor class really cares about spending an extra 2-20$ on a bamboo or recycled plastic bag. I guess it’s time for them to start caring. Their excuse is lack of money. What about the rest of us. Laziness? Habit? Apathy?

Time and time again we are finding that Americans just don’t care. They have given up on their rivers, beaches, bays, and parks. The ease of disposable goods is way to alluring, compared to keeping that reusable bag in ur trunk. Most governments around the country and world are finding themselves with one option. Lawmaking. Force people to develop new habits through taxation, fines, and built-in surcharges.

Take that libertarians. Guess its not possible to be a libertarian and an environmentalist.

The ironic part here is that I’m betting DC residents will now start carrying a reusable bag around to avoid that 5 cent charge. Ironic in that pollution, waste, landfills, global warming, dirty rivers, ruined bays – matter zilch to people. But, charge them a nickel and they act like the world is on fire.

The last thing to point out here is that each place you shop at is now saving money. They need to buy less bags and can add to their profit margins. You can bet they won’t be passing that savings onto us, the enlightened consumer. Better/worse yet the new law pays them one cent for doing nothing except participating. Two cents for offering you a nickel rebate when u bring in a reusable bag. Hmmm…you think that is fair?

All right well I expect to see some grumbling and complaining as our “Skip the Bag, Save the River” law comes into effect. You can bet I’ll be watching for that and to see how this great experiment plays out.

Christmas Cheer!

Hello Everyone. As the weather cools down the shopping season is heating up. This weekend my family and I began the “what do you want” questioneering process, only to find that we weren’t that into it.

Something has changed for us and, thanks to the brilliant and kind heart of my brother Spencer, we are foregoing all but the mightiest of gifts in favor of our favorite charities.

So, without further ado, I let him explain in his own words. The email I just received:

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Hey Everyone, Greetings and Happily Holidays to all.  I hope everyone is doing well and is looking forward to a great holiday and new year experience.  So this email is concerning all that time, energy, and money spent on finding gifts for that loved one.  This year I want our gifts to be simple, so I say we follow the ABC’s of giving.

A) ltruism: Donate money to a charity of your recipients choice.
B) uilds: Build, make, craft, design, or paint something for that loved one.
C) hange: Give change or other unwanted items to the homeless, organizations, etc.

Many well-thought out gifts can be rewarding and long lasting, yet instead of wasting money and time looking for excessive gifts and material items, we donate money to the charities of our choice.  This way the money we spend is going to something worthwhile and it has a connection to each and every person.  So if you really need something then that is fine, but otherwise donate to a good cause.  Here is a list of the people’s charity of preference and various charity organizations. Tis’ the season of giving and receiving to our loved ones everywhere!

Stevie:          American Farmland Trust, NPR, Wikipedia
Shawn:        The Salvation Army, Greenpeace, Toys for Tots
Spencer:      Heifer International, Kiva, Unicef,BUSODA
Mama:         ? need info
Papa:          ? need info
Krystal:       Busoda (Krystal’s Uganda Non-Profit), World Vision
Amy:          Atlas Corps, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Alzheimer’s Association



Poverty &
Relief
Red Cross : the American Red Cross has been the nation’s premier emergency response organization. As part of a worldwide movement that offers neutral humanitarian care to the victims of war, the American Red Cross distinguishes itself by also aiding victims of devastating natural disasters.
World Vision : The focus of the World Vision (WV) organization is divided into five major areas: emergency relief, education, health care, economic development, and promotion of justice.
The Salvation Army : is a prominent non-governmental relief agency and is usually among the first to arrive with help after natural or man-made disasters. They have worked to alleviate suffering and help people rebuild their lives. 83 cents to every dollar you donate goes directly to support social services around your area.
Habitat for Humanity : an international, Christian, non-governmental, non-profit organization devoted to building “simple, decent, and affordable” housing. Homes are built using volunteer labor and are sold at no profit.
Doctors Without Borders : an international medical humanitarian organization created by doctors and journalists in France in 1971.
Care : a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty.
Heifer International : provides gifts of livestock and plants, as well as education in sustainable agriculture, to financially-disadvantaged families around the world.
Oxfam International : works directly with communities and we seek to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them.
Kiva : world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend to unique entrepreneurs around the globe.
Goodwill : helps people earn a living, improve their lives, and strengthen their families and their communities.
Alzheimer’s Association Our Mission: To eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

Children
Busoda: A local non-profit human rights organization located in Uganda that holistically helps orphans and other vulnerable children by sponsoring the child: education, hunger relief, nutrition, HIV/AIDS education.
Toys for Tots : The principal Toys for Tots activity which takes place each year is the collection and distribution of toys in the communities in which a Marine Corps Reserve Unit is located.
Unicef : United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 1946, to provide emergency food and healthcare to children in countries that had been devastated by World War II.
Save the Children : independent organization creating lasting change in the lives of children in need in the United States and around the world.
Feed the Children : delivers food, medicine, clothing and other necessities to individuals, children and families who lack these essentials due to famine, war, poverty, or natural disaster.
Compassion : a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.

Nature
American Farmland Trust : helps farmers and ranchers protect their land, produce a healthier environment and build successful communities.
Greenpeace : a non-governmental organization for the protection and conservation of the environment. Greenpeace uses direct action, lobbying and research to achieve its goals.
Friends of the Earth : focuses on clean energy and solutions to global warming, protecting people from toxic and new, potentially harmful technologies, and promoting smarter, low-pollution transportation alternatives.
Earth Island Institute : grassroots campaigns dedicated to conserving, preserving, and restoring the ecosystems on which our civilization depends.
The Nature Conservancy : the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people.
Rare Conservation : We train and support leaders from the world’s top environmental organizations, local grassroots groups, and governments – all of which are increasingly aware that failure to create support at the community level reduces the chance of conservation success.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation: Pollution and other harmful activities degrade the Bay. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) fights for strong and effective laws and regulations.

Miscellaneous
National Public Radio (NPR) : a privately and publicly funded non-profit membership media organization that serves as a national syndicator to 797 public radio stations in the United States.
Wikipedia : a free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its name is a portmanteau of the words wiki (a technology for creating collaborative websites, from the Hawaiian word wiki, meaning “quick”) and encyclopedia. Wikipedia’s 14 million articles (3.1 million in English) have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world, and almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site
KCRW : a community service of Santa Monica College, is Southern California’s leading National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate, featuring an eclectic mix of music, news and arts programming.
Atlas Corps: an international citizen sector organization that identifies mid-career CSO leaders from the global south to volunteer for one year in the US to learn best practices, share unique perspectives and return home to strengthen the global citizen sector.

Comprehensive Charity Information
Top Rated Charities
Charity Guide
Philanthropy.com
America’s Charities
IRS Tax Deductible Charities
Just Give
Charity Watch
Charity Navigator

General Information
World Health Organization
United Nations
World Bank
International Monetary Fund
World Trade Organization
Food and Agriculture Org
NATO
CIA World Factbook
INTERPOL

Recycling in DC, Arlington, Fairfax, Montgomery, Prince Georges

**This is cross posted on the Navstar blog, where I am the new Director of Green IT**

You may have recently read that Navstar introduced our Green IT program. We are very excited about this business line and the opportunity it provides for us to make a difference and help our community.

With that in mind we are happy to provide some green tips in our blog to help our local community.

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Did you know that most of us recycle less than we can?

In some communities we recycle up to 50% less than is possible. Your first explanation for this would be that a lot of us don’t care and are lazy. We dispute this claim.

In our experience, time and time again, we find that simply educating folks works. It works wonders.

To do our part we looked into our local counties/cities and their recycling programs. We found many helpful pages provided below. Each link takes you to an information page about recycling for that community.

A tip for these pages is to check back regularly. Most municipalities add to the list every year; I mean why not, the more they recycle the less it cost. That’s right, recyclable materials get sold as a commodity whereas they pay to landfill our trash.

Lastly, if you’ve got a little green in your heart we recommend creating a recyclables list. It helps you to memorize what can be recycled and you can post the list for your housemates to read.

The USDA Wants You To “Know Your Farmer”

This morning I was fortunate to attend new media press event with Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. A small group of us took a short trip outside of Washing DC to Tree and Leaf Farm. Which is exactly 47 miles away from the Dupont Farmers Market in the city, according to co-owner Georgia O’Neal.

The reason for this farm adventure was to launch a very special program for the USDA, called Know Your Farmer Know Your Food. The details of which are still coming out. DepSec Merrigan did clue us in on the plan which includes a weeklong series of programs, announcements, and events. With the culminating event being the official opening of a farmers market one block away from the White HouseThough for new media fans, on Friday Kathleen Merrigan will be entertaining a live facebook chat.

I am betting that for the rest of the country the white house farmers market will be the big hit. It’s an easily condensible byte of news and I expect it to hit all the major networks this Thursday and throughout the weekend. The news for farmers should be a big hit as well since it announces many new plans for grants, guides, and programs. All in support of the campaign promises of Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack’s idea of “wealth creation” in rural communities.

Tree and Leaf

Tree and Leaf Farm

News aside, it was quite refreshing to visit one of DC’s regional farms the Tree and Leaf. The farm is run by Zach Lester and Georgia O’Neal who offer their bounty on Saturday’s at the Mount Pleasant Farmers Market and on Sunday at the Dupont Market. They have 5 acres of land and according to Zach produce a wide variety of crops.

They are definitely into the Organic movement, though I would say they better align with Joel Salatin’s credo of “beyond organic”. Even in our short time Zach dropped into biodynamics, the five folds of nature, the importance of compost, and more.

Their story gets more interesting as you dig into it. Their farm operations include several employees and one farm manager who helps with the direct marketing (getting the food sold), on only five acres of land!

Georgia and Zach

The land is is rented on a year-to-year lease. This is causing them some hardship since Organic farming requires a few years investment to get into place and not having a multi-year deal means they may expend money and sweat for no reason. It also deters them from making infrastructure improvements to increase their food quality, type, and length (growing in deep season, winter).

Their food is sold in markets and CSA’s in DC, but rarely in their own county. Both lamented the fact that the new Loudon County residents rarely get out of their cars to participate in the community. They are locked into the same problem the rest of the country has, trucking their food outside of their community while others simultaneously truck in low quality, unhealthy food for supermarkets.

The farm was truly a beautiful place to be. Zach’s landscaping skills make it a beautiful scene. Both he and Georgia make quite a team on the farm and their little boy, who I really thought looks like Conan the Barbarian in training.

Politics as NOT Usual

It seems that the politics of food has changed. It is now okay to talk about the inequities in our food system. It is even okay to till your own organic garden, start a farmers market, and even shop at one. This is reflected in the seemingly out of nowhere White House push for organic gardening and a farmers market.

Still the vast majority of Americans are lost in these markets which means we have a long way to go. A large amount of education is needed to bring back proper eating into the consciousness of the public. Hopefully, this new USDA program and high profile maneuvers from the White House will start the awareness. Like my Mom always reminds me, its a process, and we can’t erase bad habits overnight.

photo (2)
From Zach: "the structure is a rebar bean tunnel with swiss chard growing underneath"

Keep an eye out for more news as the week rolls on. Check out fellow foodie and blogger Obama Foodorama who also joined us on the farm trip.

DC Mayor’s Conservation Corps

As summer comes to a close and school begins anew I wanted to take some time to highlight something special in DC. The Mayor’s Conservation Corps.

This is a city sponsored effort to provide district youth with social employment. They get paid $7.25/hour and participate in programs like graffiti removal, cleaning parks, community projects, outreach, and more.

It is really a fantastic program for our fair city, which is in need of some beautification. Especially the non-NorthWest affluent areas. Then our kids, oh gosh, have you seen some of these youngsters. If so you would appreciate any sort of mentoring and productive leadership directed their way.

So, it surprises me that so many folks are decrying this effort. Nearly every article, and I mean every article except one or two, knock down this effort. They focus on the mistakes, goofiness, and sometimes rebellion that occurs. Which begs the question, have you ever hung out with the youth?

That is exactly how they are. Even the good ones will act tough and cool. But beneath it all is a sincere desire to help, find guidance, and grow as people. Maybe your ‘tough’ articles would be better if you actually looked beneath the surface and learned about our youth.

Even worse, the city’s world renowned newspaper, the Washington Post, has not published one article about this. Not one. This is embarrassing for them since they have time to write about our Metro failings and crime issues.

As a former middle school teacher I understand this problem better than most. These children are in desperate need of leadership and guidance, not more oppression and problems. I once saw Michelle Rhee, Chancellor of DC Public Schools, speak on this topic. It nearly brought me, her, and everyone else to tears as she told a story of her mentoring program. One that links up a child with an adult. It is very successful and always in need of more help.

The story she told was of one child who said he would do whatever it took to participate. He offered to ride his bike every morning and evening clear across the city. He begged and cried to be a part. Then when given the opportunity he actually did bike all those miles.

So, I challenge this city and its residents to look beneath the cover of this book. Learn about these kids and talk to them. Support these initiatives and maybe even get involved. They are the future of this city.

Finally, I want to salute the DDOE, District Dept of the Environment, and their team for doing a great, unheralded job with this years Conservation Corps.

Good Food at Busboys

A few months ago, Amy and I met with the founder of Busboys and Poets, Andy Shallal, at his new restaurant Eatonville. He entranced us as he delved into his social beliefs and the incorporation of this ethic into his restaurants. My favorite example was the Arab/Israeli roundtables, where each person is allowed to speak but not argue, I could not imagine those conversations.

This Wednesday, September 2, at 7pm his Shirlington (south Arlington, VA) location is going to focus on food. They are partnering with Media that Matters to have a special screening of Good Food. These are penetrating short documentaries  on different aspects of food from fair trade peanuts, to inner city Baltimore kids, to genetically modified crops, and more. You can also watch them online here to get a sneak peek. I think they are informative and entertaining, not just expose’s that drone on (on avg about 5 mins long).

Afterwards, there will be some short discussion which I will be a part of. We will be discussing food, sustainability, and answering any of your questions. If you’re looking to make a change and need help, looking to learn more, or just want to join the local food community, stop on by!

Also, keep your eye out for more events like this. Busboys and Poets does this monthly on the first Wednesday as part of their series called GRaSP (Green Resources and Sustainable Practice).

Busboys and Poets Hosts Good Food

by Media that Matters

supported by A Clean Life

Wednesday, September 2, 7pm

Location:

Shirlington Busboys and Poets

4251 South Campbell Ave

Arlington, VA 22206

(703) 379-9757

Media-that-matters