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Funding Opportunities For Homeowners, Industry, Gov and Non-profits

You may have heard of Grants being awarded to businesses, industries, universities, and other organizations to increase the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. Grants are a great way to get funding, but they come with strings attached. The application process can be a rather daunting task but once you're past that, if you get funded, you'll have a bevy of other responsibilities. The entity that gave you the money (especially if it's the Government) will want to know how you spend each penny, so you'll need to have the processes in place for that. You will need to track your progress and be able to show that you accomplished what you said you were going to accomplish. But don't let these things deter you as billions of dollars are awarded each and every year. Here's a list of grant sources to get you headed in the right direction.... read more

Fun Fact Friday - The EPA

EPAToday, most environmental legislation comes from the Democrats, but not terribly long ago the efforts were bipartisan.  Did you know that it was actually Richard Nixon who formed the EPA?

Previously, other environmental policies were put in place.   Some early environmental legislation included the Water Pollution Control Act in 1948 and the Air Pollution Control Act of 1955.   Throughout the late 50s into the 60s, Congress took note of Americans increasing concerns about human impact and the environment.   In1970, Nixon consolidated the offices of the federal government's environmental responsibilities and that's when the EPA was born!... read more

Youth Empowerment for the Green Campaign

Environmental problems have become adversely diverse and extensively threatening in the modern times. In the past, humanity was only dealing with a simple pollution problem but now the enormous world population, climate change, global warming, and many other serious problems are already endangering the Earth and every life form.

 

Scientists, environmentalists and experts have been working together to discover scientific breakthroughs and other methods to address the aggravating issues. Environmental organizations and concerned citizens are also doing their part to contribute in the effort to save Mother Earth. ... read more

Allergic to Green: Conservatives and the Climate.

conservatives and climate changeIn a bid for “Most Churlish Political Maneuver of 2013,” six Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works committee have boycotted Obama’s nominee to lead the EPA. Gina McCarthy, Obama's choice, worked under two Republican governors and has a solid, centrist record of administrative achievement. But, of course, that’s not the point. The point is that the only way Obama can affect climate change is to do an end-run around congress by enacting stronger regulations through the EPA. And, if Republicans block his EPA nominee they block his efforts to stop climate change. 

Even more to the point is that the Republican Senators who are trying to block McCarthy’s nomination have each received 1 million (Vitter, Inhofe), a half-million (Barasso, Wicker), or hundreds of thousands (Crapo, Sessions, Boozman) in campaign dollars from oil and gas interests over their Senate careers. First-term Republican Senator Deb Fischer took a measly $95,070 from oil and gas, but she’ll catch up. (OpenSecrets.org.) It’s obvious why these Senators take the money -- money wins elections -- but it’s less obvious why their constituents let them. After all, 51% of Republicans now understand that the climate is heating and the boycotting Senators are all from the deep South or the arid west -- regions that will be hit hardest by climate change. I don’t expect a groundswell climate movement to rise up across Ol’ Dixie and cowboy country, but people in these hotter, drier regions are going to suffer the worst from climate change and you’d think they’d want to stop it. They have children too, right? 

Yes, but they also (mostly) have conservative ideologies and research shows that even a whiff of environmental protection gives conservatives the hives. A study out of the Wharton Business School found that conservatives were less likely to buy energy-efficient lightbulbs that promised to save money when the packaging declaimed, “Protect the Environment.” They did, however, choose more efficient bulbs with eco-neutral packaging that promised to save money. Predictably, liberals responded positively to greenie packaging -- and were more likely to burn old sneakers for illumination if told it would “Protect the Environment” (Just kidding, that last part.)... read more

Incinerator Moratorium Update

The Massachusetts DEP has released their “Master Plan” for solid waste management in Massachusetts. The major components in the plan include increase in recycling, reduction in overall waste, monitoring and enforcement of waste bans, and modification to the incinerator moratorium. The proposed modification of the incinerator moratorium would encourage the use of alternative technologies, such as gasification, for converting waste to energy or fuel under certain conditions (nma.org).

The incinerator moratorium was introduced in 1988. At that time there were fourteen applications at DEP for new incinerators to be built. Fourteen were way too much for the DEP to handle. Having that many incinerators would mean our state would be burning all trash/MSW. Possibly hurting municipal recycling programs. ... read more

Three Things Parents Can Do to Stop Climate Change

Psy stormGotta love those noble intentions. Even if you leap out of bed each morning asking yourself “how can I stop climate change today?”, as a parent you’ll soon confront that daily avalanche of carpools, deadlines, kids’ dentist appointments, meetings, etc, etc. You know that scene in the Gangnam Style video where Psy struts headlong into a raging storm of trash and snow? Well parents, that’s us (minus the chicks and the style.) Who has time to work on climate change amidst all that?

Luckily, after years of herding our kids around, we’ve learned radical prioritizing -- how to cut to the chase. You’ve probably had many conversations like this with your kids: “Now, Jenny (Johnny, Janie, whatever), which do you think will help us get to your school on time; continuing to poke that dead worm with a stick or getting in the car?” We can apply this sophisticated logic to other questions like: which do you think stops people from ruining the environment; asking them nicely, or making carbon pollution illegal and expensive? (Hint: we’ve already tried the first one.) Politicians can pass laws making carbon pollution illegal (cap and trade) or very expensive (carbon tax), but only if we tell them to -- often. So, parents can cut to the chase and tell their representatives to vote for the climate. No need to keep poking the climate with a stick.... read more

How the UK Government is going to cut carbon one building at a time and what we can all learn

The UK Government has just launched their Green Deal earlier this month. It’s the UK’s largest attempt to retro fit homes with insulation and Green technologies. The Governments aim is to cut carbon output by 80% of 1990 levels by 2050, it’s a big ask and can’t be achieved by policy alone. The Governments aim is to get 14 million homes upgraded through the initiative. 

Incentives 

How are they going to achieve this? Well there is one big incentive to kick things off: no upfront costs to the home or business owner. This will hopefully get people motivated, because apathy is rampant when it comes to Green Technologies. If I said to you that you could save £80/$100 per year by insulating your loft properly you’d probably say yes—but that means clearing out my loft, and that’s a pain! 

With constant changes in lifestyle and behavior, there needs to be a motivation or incentive to drive the project forward. Luckily we have created international Gas and Oil markets that keep driving the cost of domestic gas and oil higher and higher; swaying the nay saiers is therefore becoming easier. Everyone understands the simple concept of saving money and finding cheaper alternatives. ... read more

A Tranquil Climate in the Boardroom

Monopoly guy under water   

Are business leaders finally discovering that climate change hurts everyone’s bottom line? In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed Obama over Romney because Obama took concrete steps against carbon pollution, and at the same time he slapped Romney for denying climate change.(1) This was a major departure for any one-percenter, as Bloomberg clearly is, since that group is allergic to talking about climate change. As climate scientists offer more detailed predictions about our overheated future, one fact has become clear: climate change is going to cost everyone a lot of money. The worse it gets the more it will cost. This has been known for a decade, and new businesses are thriving in the areas of alternative energy, conservation, etc., but corporate leaders have remained eerily silent on the reality of climate change, apart from spin and greenwashing.... read more

The UK’s community solar revolution

In the last 18 months the UK has seen a rise in the number of community solar PV installation projects across the country. With Government schemes such as the FiT (Feed in Tariff)  and Renewable Heat incentive, coupled with a drop in installation prices, investing in solar for non-domestic buildings is an attractive option. The community solar movement is fast gathering speed: the visibility of solar panels on the roofs of schools, church halls, housing associations and energy cooperatives is inspiring others to follow suit.  Solar is one of the most accessible routes to the micro generation of sustainable low carbon power.  And, not only do these kinds of projects mean that communities reduce their carbon emissions, and lower their bills, they also divert power away from the ‘Big Six’ energy companies controlling 99% of UK supplies back into the hands of the local people.  

In his seminal book Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered E.F. Schumacher wrote that the future health of mankind, and the planet, depended on us working together on a smaller, more appropriate scale.  He believed that the way forward was for communities to take control of their local economies, technologies, and renewable energy generation. In this way, things function on a human, rather than corporate scale:  people need to have a say, and a stake in local ownership and local government to feel engaged, connected and valued.  Although his book was written nearly half a century ago, it is particularly pertinent today. ... read more

Clean Energy Victory Bonds

 

Clean Energy Victory Bonds

 

Are you familiar with the Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act of 2012?   If not, you should be!  This initiative can help the US economy and the environment.

A little background:  On August 2, 2012, Representative Bob Filner and 10 cosponsors introduced the Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act of 2012, H.R. 6275 in the House of Representatives. The bill is officially entitled “To promote the domestic development and deployment of clean energy technologies required for the 21st century” and will allow Americans to invest in Treasury Bonds for as low as $25 each.  The bonds will fund clean energy programs that support wind, solar, energy efficiency, and electric vehicles in the US.... read more

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