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Monday, November 23, 2009

Florida Awarded $1.25 M Grant

Courtesy of the American Reinvestment Recovery Act 2009 (ARRA), Florida has received a grant for $1.25 million to conduct a statewide survey to identify green job opportunities. Once this information is compiled, the jobs will be listed on Florida’s online job bank Web site. This is just one of the many ways the stimulus dollars will be used to move Florida toward being more sustainable. Click here for more details on this story.

For more information about what is happening with ‘green’ jobs locally, register for the Green Job Market in Pinellas County Webinar at

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pinellas Green Business Partnership: Writing Your Green Policy

Mary Campbell, Extension Director and Urban Sustainability Agent

It is an exciting time for green businesses. Green building is on the rise, the auto industry is racing to produce electric cars and major corporations are starting to assess the environmental impacts of their products and operations. Businesses are setting goals on waste reduction- Wal-Mart pledges to reduce global plastic shopping bag waste by an average of 33% per store by 2013; use of alternative energy is on the rise and businesses are tracking their carbon footprint. does an annual report on green business efforts and the progress towards more sustainable business models. The report provides some optimism, but also indicates we have a long way to go. For businesses that are working to be greener, there can be many benefits, such as attracting customers, reducing costs, and providing healthier working conditions for employees. So how does a business move forward on a plan to be green? There needs to be a long-range view of the overall mission for the business. Some businesses are creating positions for a Sustainability Coordinator that can be a point person to move the effort forward and provide resources. St. Petersburg College offers a degree program in Sustainability Management. If a new position is not created, companies are forming employee teams to promote activities like recycling, waste reduction, green purchasing and energy conservation.

A good place to start is by writing a company environmental policy statement. This statement is a set of goals that helps a company put its commitment into practice. Sound environmental policies can reduce overhead and be a valuable tool in efficiency. A policy statement should be developed with the participation of employees and include legal compliance, product stewardship, continual improvement and involvement with employees and customers.

To support local efforts for businesses to go green and provide recognition to companies that meet specific criteria, Pinellas County Extension has developed a Green Business Partnership assessment. Over the next few months, a series of articles will outline that program and how any business can begin the exciting process of being a green business. The new website provides information and resources.
Sign up for the Introduction to the Green Business Partnership, December 15, 2009 to learn more: On Line Registration
Walmart’s Sustainability Efforts

State of Green Business 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Florida Climate Change Action Plans

Mary Campbell, Extension Director and Urban Sustainability Agent

Many communities in Florida have already taken the positive step of developing actions plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions. As we know, these greenhouse gases that come from the burning of fossil fuels for transportation and energy are impacting our environment by changing our atmosphere, which is in turn changing our climate. Scientists now agree with a 90% certainty that these human processes are a contributor to the environmental changes we are now experiencing (warmer atmospheric and ocean temperatures, changes in rainfall, sea level rise, movement of pests and diseases).

Climate Change Action plans usually consist of the following:
1. Calculating the emissions of greenhouse gases (baseline) for a business or operation.
2. Setting a target for reduction of gases.
3. Developing a plan for how that target will be reached.
4. Tracking and monitoring the success of the program.

Here are a few of the action plans that will help Florida reduce greenhouse gas emissions:

Join us for an online Climate Change Webinar Tuesday, November 17
We can all do our part through energy conservation, recycling and other green practices: