Archive for June, 2009

Plastiki expedition

plastikiEco-adventurer David de Rothschild plans to sail 11,000 miles from San Francisco to Sydney by way of the Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch on his 60-foot catamaran called the Plastiki.  That in itself is a big deal, the amazing thing is that the catamaran is made of used two-liter plastic bottles!  “Our philosophy of throwing everything away has to change,” says de Rothschild. “I want to use the Plastiki as a platform to help people think of waste as a resource.”

Since 2005, de Rothschild’s company, Adventure Ecology, has promoted his expeditions to help teach school children about environmental issues like global warming.

His mission illustrates his desire not to merely raise awareness but to find solutions to global warming:

  • Scientist will study topics like ocean acidification, coral bleaching, and marine debris and publish a paper at the end of the trip.
  • The Plastiki will be 100 percent recyclable. The boat’s framework, made of plastic bottles demonstrates how unconventional thinking can produce more ecologically sensitive solutions.

“Bottled water has become a symbol of convenience more than anything,” says de Rothschild. “The best question to ask is, ‘When did we get so thirsty?”

For more information visit www.theplastiki.com

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June 15, 2009 at 8:17 am Leave a comment

The digital TV transition takes effect TODAY! Are you ready?

tvThe Issue

How do I get rid of my old television?

The Larger Issue

  • Electronic waste is growing 3 times as fast as other municipal waste!  The “digital TV transition” takes effect today, so expect that number to skyrocket.
  • In 2007, 30 million new televisions were purchased!  Only 12% of those disposed of were recycled.
  • About 40% of the lead, mercury and cadmium in landfills come from discarded electronic equipment.  It is well documented that over time, this toxic waste will leak back into the ground and the water.
  • Over 1,000 materials, including between 4 to 8 pounds of lead, mercury, cadmium and toxic flame retardants can be found in every television.  These heavy metals can cause brain and kidney damage and may affect hormonal functions.

Be Part of the Solution

Remember the greenest TV’s are the ones that already exist, so before you dump your old television or electronics, try giving it away!  If that’s not an option, try these eco-friendly alternatives instead:

  • Give your old electronics to someone via Freecycle , a free website allowing people to recycle unwanted items.
  • Donate your unwanted electronics to a thrift store, a church, synagogue or school.
  • Recycle your old electronics equipment at any Office Depot or Staples.
  • Contact Pinellas County Solid Waste at (727) 464-7500 to find where you can drop off your old electronics.
  • Again, the greenest televisions are the ones that already exist, so try to buy a used TV before buying new.
  • When buying new electronics equipment, make sure to replace with Energy Star products.
  • When the “digital TV transition” takes place, you will need a TV converter box if you own an analog TV without cable.  Apply for a coupon at https://www.dtv2009.gov/.
  • Go to http://takebackmytv.com and ask electronics manufacturers to take back their old televisions.

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June 12, 2009 at 7:16 am Leave a comment

Progress Energy Florida to introduce new solar initiatives

solar-panelsProgress Energy Florida, an energy company serving approximately 3.1 million customers in the Carolinas and Florida is about to introduce a number of new solar initiatives for its customers, eventually marketed as SunSense.

Assuming the Florida Public Service Commission approves, Progress Energy plans to update their 10-year plan to increase its existing energy-efficiency goal by 50% from 412 million kilowatt hours to 618 million kwh.  Progress Energy plans to offer solar photovoltaic array subsidies for Florida homes and businesses and seeks to increase the solar water heater rebate from $450 to $500.

Progress Energy Florida CEO Jeff Lyash said, “As the costs of life’s essentials continue to rise, we know our customers want more options for saving on their energy bills.”

To learn more, visit savethewatts.com.

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June 10, 2009 at 6:46 am Leave a comment

St. Petersburg College partners with High Point Elementary to develop garden

gardenSustainability Club members at St. Petersburg College will partner with High Point Elementary School students, teachers and a gardening expert to develop a garden which will have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems.

The garden is located on the High Point Elementary School grounds at 5921 150th Avenue North. It initially will cover about 1,700 square feet, but may be enlarged later.

The philosophy behind so-called “permaculture gardens” is one of working with, rather than against, nature. The word stems from two words – permanent and agriculture.

In the case of the High Point garden, cardboard provided by SPC will serve as the base layer; a mixture of manure, compost, hay and soil will then be layered on top of the cardboard. The actual ground will not be tilled as it is with conventional gardens.

Sustainability Club members from various SPC campuses will provide the labor to prepare the land for the garden on June 8 at 9:30 a.m.

Robert Segundo, a certified permaculture designer, will volunteer his time to oversee the project.

“Most children have no idea where their food comes from, and this will be a good way for them to find out,” said Segundo. “The techniques used will put them on the road to sustainable farming techniques, using less water, no fertilizers or pesticides and reaping five times the food.”

Nancy McClelland, a High Point primary teacher, will oversee the garden project that K-5 students will tend beginning in the next school year.

“Our children spend the majority of their time inside classrooms and homes,” McClelland said. “Our garden is a long-range, sustainable project that will engage students in hands-on, inquiry-driven activities which I believe will boost core subject skills as well as nutrition. One of High Point’s goals is to promote parent and community involvement, and that is what the garden will do.”

The project was initially envisioned by McClelland.  She approached Jason Green, SPC’s sustainability coordinator, and they immediately began discussing the idea of partnering to develop a student-run garden.

“Both the participating environmental club members and I are very excited to work with High Point Elementary School on this project,” said Green.  “The idea of designing gardens based on healthy relationships among human development, microclimate, plants, animals, soil, and water just makes sense.”

The garden will produce a variety of vegetables, fruits, perennials and annuals, all grown in an ecologically responsible fashion.

“Whether planting, observing, measuring, weighing, journaling, or harvesting, children will become connected to the earth,” McClelland said. “This empowers them and gives them a sense of achievement and ownership.”

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June 8, 2009 at 7:23 am Leave a comment

Dollars for Scholars Thrift Store is open for business

Leja Apple, an SPC student working toward a Bachelor's in Management and Organizational Leadership and the new manager of the Dollars for Scholars Thrift store, assists Greg McLeod, Associate Provost, HEC, and daughter Kyla, 4, at the store.

Leja Apple, an SPC student working toward a Bachelor's in Management and Organizational Leadership and the new manager of the Dollars for Scholars Thrift store, assists Greg McLeod, Associate Provost, HEC, and daughter Kyla, 4, at the store.

The grand opening of the Dollars for Scholars thrift store last weekend was a huge success!

Community members, as well as SPC students, alumni and employees, found bargains on clothing, jewelry, shoes and home goods.

The new thrift store even has a complete department of brand new clothing from Jim’s Harley-Davidson.

The Dollars for Scholars Thrift store is open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Saturday and is located at the college’s Caruth Health Education Center, 7028 66th St. N, Pinellas Park.

Donations can be dropped off during normal business hours. The thrift store is especially in need of men’s clothing, office supplies and computers (but NO monitors please!)

For more information, visit Dollars for Scholars web site for details or contact Michelle Piccione at 727-341-3620.

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June 5, 2009 at 8:44 am 1 comment

Add an informative email signature

Here’s an idea…tree

SPC’s mission is to provide accessible, learner-centered education; I think this can be further demonstrated by carrying that idea into additional aspects of daily life.

For example, it’s nice to see the “please print only if necessary” or “please consider the environment before printing this message” at the end of email messages, but if you are going to add a tag (signature) to the end of every email you send, consider an educational message.  Think about changing (or adding) the email tag to include an environmentally meaningful and thought provoking fact:

  • paper makes up 40% of landfill waste.  print only what is necessary
  • save up to 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year by printing only what is necessary
  • save up to 4 million tons of copy paper each year by printing only what is necessary
  • save a 100-foot-tall tree every year by printing only what is necessary
  • save up to 7.5 pounds of per week by printing only what is necessary

To create a new signature, follow these steps:

  1. From the main Microsoft Outlook window, on the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Mail Format tab.
  2. Under Signature, click Signatures, and then click New.
  3. In the Enter a name for your new signature box, enter a name.
  4. Under Choose how to create your signature, select Start with a blank signature.
  5. Click Next.
  6. In the Signature text box, type your name, additional information and the text you select from above.  You can also paste text to this box from another document.
  7. To change the paragraph or font format, select the text, click Font or Paragraph, and then select the options you want.  These options are not available if you use plain text as your message format.
  8. Click Finish when you are done editing the new signature.

To edit an existing signature, follow these steps:

  1. From the main Microsoft Outlook window, on the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Mail Format tab.
  2. Under Signature, click Signatures, and then click New.
  3. In the Enter a name for your new signature box, enter a name.
  4. Under Choose how to create your signature, select Use this existing signature. And select the existing signature you wish to edit.
  5. Click Next.
  6. In the Signature text box, type your name, additional information and the text you select from above.  You can also paste text to this box from another document.
  7. To change the paragraph or font format, select the text, click Font or Paragraph, and then select the options you want.  These options are not available if you use plain text as your message format.
  8. Click Finish when you are done editing the new signature.

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June 4, 2009 at 7:28 am Leave a comment

Emerging Green Builders social networking event at Mangroves in Tampa

egbIt’s that time of year again when green thinkers from the Tampa Bay area come together to mix and mingle in a networking event and presentation about green building in the region. This EGB hosted event will have a mix of students, young professionals, and seasoned veterans in attendance spanning the continuum of green building expertise in the Tampa Bay area. Come meet the movers, the shakers, and everyone in between on Thursday, June 4th from 6pm – 8pm at Mangroves 208 South Howard Avenue in South Tampa.

Pre-sale registration is $8 for USGBC members $13 for non-members.  Walk ups that evening will be $10 for members and $15 for non-members.

http://fgcc.roundtablelive.org

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June 2, 2009 at 2:10 pm Leave a comment

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who we are:

Early in 2008, St. Petersburg College recognized its responsibility to model to our students, employees and community ways to minimize global warming emissions and provide the knowledge to our graduates to help achieve a more environmentally friendly future. Because of this, the College made sustainability (defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs) a top priority. As a result, the Office for Sustainability was established.

what we do:

Working alongside internal and external partners, the Office for Sustainability focuses on the following areas of environmental stewardship: educational programs and corporate training, energy and natural resource conservation, green buildings and facilities, carbon emissions, recycling and student activities.

learn more:

To learn more about The Office for Sustainability at St. Petersburg College, contact Jason Green, Sustainability Coordinator at green.jason@spcollege.edu

sustainable | SPC