Archive for April, 2011

Good Food, Good Times and a Great Earth Day

Posted on April 25, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Clean Currents and the Commissary Celebrate Earth Day

Last Friday April 22nd, Clean Currents and The Commissary teamed up to educate hungry customers on how they can make the switch to wind energy at their homes like The Commissary has done.

Since 2008 when the Commissary switch to 100 % wind power, they have estimated to reduce over 1 million pounds of carbon dioxide which is equivalent to burning 50,000 gallons of gasoline.  As part of the Earth Day celebration the Commissary gave customers discounts for bringing in reusable bags and coffee mugs. Clean Currents also gave customers a $15 dollar gift certificate to the restaurant for those that sign up before May 1.

On left Commissary bar Manager Joe, on the Right Green Neighborhood Challenge leader Gregory Taylor sipping a Clean Currents Cosmo specially created for this event.

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Spotlight on Zia’s Cafe

Posted on April 14, 2011. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , |

This week’s Clean Currents commercial customer spotlight is on Zia’s Cafe of Towson Maryland:

CC: Why did you think it was important to support clean renewable wind energy?

Zia’s: As a cafe & caterer of wholesome, cleanly produced foods, our passion and dedication is offering health-conscious foods that are also earth-conscious, minimizing our impact whenever possible.  So, for us, green power is kind of a no-brainer.  Clean Currents has helped us come full circle in our dedication to the planet by providing clean, green energy!

CC: Why do you care about global warming and clean energy solutions?

Zia’s: It’s so easy to ignore or push aside these kinds of problems because it’s not a sexy, sensationalized kind of story, which seems to be what gets the attention of the everyday American.  The human race destroys our environment a little bit each day and it’s difficult to see this quantitatively, particularly one person or one business’s impact.  But it is a international tragedy that knows not race, ethnicity, economic or social status, creed or religion, whose effects will begin to rear their ugly head more and more as the majority continues to live in ignorance and/or apathy.  However, we’ve all heard it before (hopefully), all YOU can do is YOUR part and support/encourage others to do the same.  That’s what we plan to do.

CC: Why did you pick Clean Currents?

Zia’s: Clean Currents offers competitive rates while understanding the importance of marketing and promoting our company’s choice to go 100% wind powered.  CC’s attention to detail, support and customer service have been extremely impressive, professional and pleasurable, making us proud to be affiliated with them and what they are doing.

CC: What are actions in your personal or professional life have you taken to reduce your climate impact?

Zia’s:  We use 100% recycled paper when we print documents.  We obsessively monitor our use of energy and our whole staff is dedicated to making sure we don’t waste energy.  We offer zero waste catering as well as compostable paper products.  We obviously do all the other little things like recycling and using green cleaning products, etc.

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Fracking Under Fire

Posted on April 13, 2011. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , , |

Natural gas is making lots of headlines these days. Vast natural gas resources in the Marcellus Shale region (spanning PA, NY, MD and DE) have been touted by some a major step in meeting US energy needs with domestic resources. Many progressives (including President Obama and the NRDC)  have joined more conventional allies of natural gas in touting it as a “bridge fuel” between fossil fuel generation and renewable options due to its lower emissions profile when burning.

However, the reason domestic natural gas has become so abundant is that a new extraction technique has opened up once unaccessible reserves. Fracking (short for hydraulic fracturing) involves blasting water, sand and chemicals into a well to force up the underlying gas from the shale. This process is water intensive and has led to contamination of local water sources. As a result, this technique has been highly contentious, facing challenges from local enviromental groups and national organizations like the Sierra Club. It has even been banned in several jurisdictions in New York and Pennsylvania. So while on the one hand, environmentalists concerned about climate change are drawn to the promise of natural gas as a path away from coal, they are also concerned about the negative of impacts of fracking for local communities.  

To add to the mix, this week brought a flurry of coverage on two recent studies that put shale gas above coal in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. As the NY Times explains, one of the studies by a Cornell University researcher examined the climate change impact of methane released during fracking and transportation of gas through pipelines. The study found that 3.6-7.9% of the methane is released into the atmosphere through fracking and other unconventional natural gas extraction methods. Since methane is a potent greenhouse gas (21 times more so than carbon dioxide), the emissions profile of shale gas compared to coal is higher over a twenty year time span. Building off this study, another researcher at the Post Carbon Institute concluded that a concentrated switch to natural gas would actually increase, rather than decrease US greehouse gas emissions.

These studies are hopefully the first of many that look deeper into the lifecycle and full environmental impacts of shale natural gas extraction. The lead researcher in the Cornell study, Michael Howarth put it like this:

“I don’t think this is the end of the story…I think this is just the beginning of the story, and before governments and the industry push ahead on gas development, at the very least we ought to do a better job of making measurements.

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Riding into the Wind

Posted on April 11, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Climate Ride COUNTDOWN: 32 days!

For anyone who has never been out on an all-day ride just for the fun of it – let me say it is a wonderful experience. This is my new favorite weekend activity! The simplicity of riding on a trail with friends, enjoying the fresh air and scenery while boosting those endorphins just can’t be beat 🙂

It’s 7 weeks into training and can’t believe how much I’m enjoying myself. This is the first time I’ve had to train for anything long-distance and I’ve probably done as much cycling in the past couple months as I have my entire life! Thank goodness I’m not the only one who is trying this out for the first time. There is a large group of registered Climate Riders around DC and some of us have gotten together a few times for groups rides. These people are so energized and are helping keeping me motivated and excited about the big challenge ahead of us.

Here are some photos of the group I rode with along the Washington & Old Dominion trail from Vienna, VA to Leesburg, VA. The ride was 25 miles each way and included a stop for lunch. Most of us did not know one another before this outing. Now I can’t wait to ride with these awesome people again soon!

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Yesterday, I completed a 30 mile ride to Mt. Vernon, Virginia and am feeling more comfortable and confident on the road bike each time I’m on it. The weekend before last was my first ride using clip-in shoes and pedals. A little nerve racking at first when you consider the new falling risk – but definitely helps you go faster and straight forward enough to get used to.

Training is just part of the challenge – we must each also raise $2,400 in order to participate. Clean Currents is being extremely supportive in this endeavor. Not only are they working to get the word out, but they have also purchased a brand new bike so that anyone who donates to me can be entered in a drawing to win it!

Along the ride I will be representing Clean Currents as much as possible. Since I’m riding with Team 350, we will have the entire team wearing “Get Plugged In” T-shirts one day of the ride. I will also be given an opportunity to speak to the group about the ease and benefits of supporting wind power.

Now that there’s just over a month left, it’s time to start thinking more about the gear I’ll need (we’ll be camping out multiple nights).

Awesome people + being outdoors + promoting our environment = PURE JOY! 

If you would like to contribute to the cause, please visit my donation page:
http://climateride.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=1216

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