Friday, October 23, 2009

Join the world tomorrow!!

Jessica and I have been emailing this morning and what better way to get back in the blogosphere with a CALL TO ACTION tomorrow. Hope to see you there at 3:50pm at the downtown chalk board for Charlottesville's 350 event!!

Some links:

The Map of Actions: (this page has the most comprehensive information in one place)

From Jessica, the event coordinator:

I love living in Charlottesville. As a progressive and green-leaning small city, there are so many good things happening - the city markets, green roofs on government buildings, progressive elected leaders, a growing local foods movement; the list goes on and on. As I watched the movement grow, I was certain that someone would organize an event for Charlottesville.

There are a couple of churches that are doing local events, and two different groups are hiking Humpback Rock, but nothing was happening in the heart of the city. I had the idea that the Free Speech wall was a good last minute meeting spot - the wall is there as a place for the citizens of Charlottesville to make their voices heard - what better platform for spreading the word?

As our country and our world move toward global climate talks in Copenhagen, it is imperative that we speak up about what is important to us. Our leaders cannot speak for us if we don't tell them what is important to us. One voice may be lost in the wind, but when we stand together, we can make a difference. I believe that Charlottesville can stand up tomorrow like we did for the Earth Week events earlier this year, and like we do for so many other important issues, and make our collective voices heard.

We may be one small city, but when we stand with the over 4600 actions in 177 countries, we can make a difference. I hope that anyone who hopes for a better tomorrow will come out and join the movement.

I will be at the Free Speech wall tomorrow at (or before) 3:50 pm with extra chalk, rain or shine. I will have a camera there, and will make sure that the group photo gets uploaded to the site as soon as I get home. All photos that are taken and uploaded will be streamed in Times Square in New York City (and I believe that they will also be displayed at the UN, but I can't find the documentation on that one!) I would urge anyone who will be joining the action to visit the website and read up about the climate science behind the movement. I will have some talking points with me, and a speech from Bill McKibben to read to the group.

Thanks so much for spreading the word on this!

No problem, Jessica. Happy to do it

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Betty, Bruce and Brad talk greener transport options

Concerned Cvillians:

[This blog comes in part from the Bruce and Betty show on transportation, helpful local green info/interview on 1061 the Corner, airing on Friday morning, October 9 at 9am]

The EPA tells us that transportation accounted for approximately 29 percent of total U.S. GHG emissions in 2006. And it's the fastest-growing source of U.S. GHGs, accounting for 47 percent of the net increase in total U.S. emissions since 1990. Transportation is also the largest end-use source of CO2, which is the most prevalent greenhouse gas. We MUST, MUST, we MUST reduce our DRIVING... First, figure out your transport footprint HERE

Now let's talk HOW to increase efficiency, reduce your driving and thereby save money and precious dinosaur blood AND help keep our air clean!

1- Choose an alternative mode of driving once a week:
*Go car free and walk
*Take public transportation
*Take the Go-Green taxi service to the airport
*Take the rickshaw! (Check out Betty's directory under T for transport)

2-Buy Smart - check out the cool green vehicle guide at the EPA's website

3-Drive Smart by following these fuel efficient tips:

*Consolidate trips
*Avoid quick starts and stops
*The speed limit is not just there for safety, it's recommended based on Fuel Efficiency
*Get rid of excess weight in your car (I'm not talking about going on a diet here - make sure you get the trunk off the roof in a timely fashion and removed what you don't need from the trunk)
*Don't idle for more than 60 seconds. Turn off your engine.
*I recommend keeping a driving log and see if you can reduce your weekly miles traveled
*Ask you

4-Maintain your car by...
*keeping your tire pressure at the correct psi for the season (check the inside of the driver's side door)
*keep the manufacturer's recommended grade oil in your car and replaced regularly

5-Check into using renewable fuels

*There are two local alternative fuel stations in Charlottesville - for E85 and biodiesel.

Most of these tips can be found at this very helpful site:

Every contribution you make in the way of effiencing and reducing driving makes a difference!


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Greening your Greenbacks

Greening your greenbacks - enjoy this month's column found in Abode

Think about this: Your hard-earned money in the bank could very well be funding activities you would find appalling: say, oil exploration in Antarctica’s wildlife refuge. How can you ensure your dollars are promoting the better world we all envision?

Greener banking
Simple steps include going paperless: Decline ATM receipts (at 8 billion transactions per year, that makes a difference), use auto deposits, and obtain tax forms, bank statements, investments materials online. More importantly, where do you shop for a mortgage and do your other banking? The Better World Handbook recommends using local credit unions, not-for-profit institutions with a mission to serve their community, and therefore preferable to large banking institutions whose practices are more about profits than the planet.

Greener investing
“If you are truly invested in a better future, socially responsible investing (SRI) just makes better sense,” according to Ryan Miracle of FMI, a socially responsible investment firm in Waynesboro. Screening is a good first step. This means excluding companies that violate your personal values and including companies which match them.

Another way to effect change is through shareholder advocacy where the fund manager acts on behalf of your beliefs about, for example, the importance of sustainable business practices. Community investing designates funds for specific organizations who are making change at a grassroots level.

Now the burning question. Is there more risk with SRI? Miracle has good news: “The Domini 400 (a sustainability index) has outperformed the S&P 500 since 1990.” Check for a list of socially responsible mutual funds, a comprehensive screening chart, and financial performance data.

GLOSSARY of Eco-Investing Terms:
Triple bottom line: people, planet, and profits
Negative screening: simply excluding companies that violate your personal values
SRI funds: Socially Responsible Investment
ESG: Environment Social Government (industry term for SRI)

Check out Better World Betty’s local green living resource list at


Saturday, October 3, 2009

What's for dinner, kids? LOCAL foods!

Last weekend it was a pleasure to hang with my friend Melissa at Piedmont Environmental Council (and the Buy Fresh, Buy Local campagin) and my loyal Betty volunteer Eric Betthauser and Lisa Reeder, owner/writer of a Local Notion and fellow columnist for the Cville Weekly at the ANNUAL VEGGIE FEST!! The rain was a bit of a downer, but the die hards were out, thankfully.

I hope you have had a chance to pick up the Eat Local Challenge Form. This is a fun and doable step into the local fresh food scene. For us it was easy with our CSA share, but if you still aren't a member of a CSA (Community Sustained Agriculture), you can still manage to get your 21 foods in 21 days buy shopping at the local farmer's markets or Integral Yoga/Rebecca's/Whole Foods or if you are a stellar gardener you may still be harvesting the fruits of your own labor.

(Confession here: today we finally weeded our extremely unstellar garden - the deer were not hampered by my short bamboo sticks and net fencing! But we did find a 5 foot long black snake and a cute toad!)

So in the past week I've been able to get creative with some yummy squash soup, apple pumpkin muffins, and tonight roasted rutebaga. Surprise,surprise my boys turned their nose up. But I found it delicious!

Eating local strengthens our local economy and helps support endangered family farms and protect the environment AND delivers great taste and freshness!

You still have until next Sunday (Oct 11)to participate by filling out the form and sending it in. The prizes are from the great sponsors:

The Charlottesville Cooking School
Blue Ridge Eco-Shop
Revolutionary Soup
Caromont Farm
Blue Mountain Brewery
Open Gate Farm
C and O
and Dr. Ho's Humble Pie (suddenly I'm craving the best pizza around!)

Bon Appetit!