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Monday, January 26, 2009

Learn How a Tree Planted in Largo Might Help Reduce Super Bowl Impact on Local Environment

Climate Change Expert Talks about Super Bowl and Other Programs Designed to Lessen Impact on Local Community through Carbon Exchange

What do Super Bowl XLIII in Hillsborough County and trees recently planted in Pinellas County have in common? The two share a lot, when the subject is greenhouse gas reduction. The National Football League (NFL) is sponsoring the planting of trees in places like Egmont Key, Plant City, Safety Harbor and Largo to offset increased greenhouse gas created by Super Bowl-related activities. The NFL calls it the Urban and Community Forestry Initiative. Experts on climate change such as Mark van Soestbergen call it calculating carbon footprints.

Van Soestbergen, founder of the International Carbon Bank & Exchange, will give three free presentations about how national sports teams, universities and conference sponsors are partnering with governments and businesses to offer carbon neutral events. You can learn how these groups and individuals are using carbon offsets and trading to positively impact climate change. You can also get a better understanding of common discussion terms like carbon offsets and carbon trading.

The Carbon Neutral: Teaming Up to Make a Difference for Our Climate programs are planned at the following locations and times:

Friday, Jan. 30, from 7 to 8 p.m. at Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center, located at 1800 Weedon Drive N.E. in St. Petersburg. To learn more and to register, call (727) 453-6500.

Saturday, Jan. 31, from 11 a.m. to noon at Pinellas County Extension located at 12520 Ulmerton Road in Largo. No registration is required. For more information, call (727) 582-2456.

Saturday, Jan. 31, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Brooker Creek Preserve Education Center located at 3940 Keystone Road in Tarpon Springs. To learn more and to register, call (727) 453-6800.

Part of the program focuses on what citizens can do to help reduce their own carbon footprint on the world. “The individual is truly the secret agent in this whole process,” said van Soestbergen. At the programs, tips will be shared about day-to-day actions everyone can take concerning travel, heating/cooling usage, electricity consumption, domestic waste and recycling. “Without taking personal ownership, nothing happens,” he added.

Get expert information about how to live a more sustainable lifestyle at these information-packed programs just in time for Super Bowl kick off Sunday, Feb. 1.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Give a Hoot, Telecommute!

James Stevenson, Pinellas County Extension Specialist, Urban Sustainability

Many of us are looking for ways to save money and the environment these days. Although the price of gasoline has dropped from its all-time high back in the summer, that spike served as a wake-up call. It would seem that many people have now realized, first hand, what it means to have the price of a non-renewable resource reflect its availability.

Not surprisingly there were several stories in the local, state and national news about the practice of telecommuting. Telecommuting allows employees to carry out the same work duties from a location other than the primary work place. Generally speaking, telecommuting involves working from home, therefore forgoing the tedious and expensive commute into work.

In addition to reducing the cost of gasoline for the employee, each telecommuter is one less vehicle on the road, thus reducing traffic congestion. Fewer vehicles in a workplace’s parking lot might just be a welcomed advantage as well.

What are the benefits to the employee besides a reduced gasoline bill at the end of the month? Studies have shown that the level of trust that is necessary for this arrangement to succeed contributes to an increase in employee motivation and productivity. A happy employee is a productive employee!

Companies that have telecommuting guidelines and policies in place can choose which employees may be suited for this arrangement. Of course there are some jobs that can never be done “from home,” but with careful planning and a bit of experience, a work schedule can be devised that benefits the employee and employer alike.

Whether it is one day a week, three days a week or only one day a month, in a county the size of Pinellas each employee’s reduction of resource use could soon add up to environmental savings!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Ten Green Resolutions for 2009

Mary Campbell, Pinellas County Extension Director, Urban Sustainability Agent

What are your top resolutions for 2009? I hope that a few may involve eco-friendly practices and reducing your footprint on the earth. I just want to take a moment and review the top green practices from 2008 and see if you can add these to your resolutions. So that you can reinforce your resolution with a written commitment, a link to a pledge is also included. Remember that a written commitment has been shown to increase our ability to follow through on that commitment. Thank you to the 1209 people who committed in 2008 to going green and helping to create a more sustainable planet.

1. Use compact fluorescent lights when replacing bulbs.
2. Use reusable shopping bags.
3. Recycle plastic containers.
4. Kick the plastic bottle habit.

5. Use at least 30% post-consumer content recycled paper.
6. Reduce paper by printing on both sides.
7. Recycle used paper.

8. Combine trips to save fuel
9. Turn off the car if idling more than 20 seconds
10. Make sure care tires are at correct pressure.

I wish you success in your green practices in 2009.