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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Seminole Residents Come Together for Sustainability

A group of citizens in the City of Seminole have formed a DISCUSSION GROUP ON RECYCLING AND SUSTAINABILITY. Meetings are held once a month at the Seminole Community Library, 9200 113th St. N., Seminole, Florida 33772.

FEBRUARY 1, from 10:00 am to noon, Program Room A, the DISCUSSION GROUP will welcome Barbara Arthur, volunteer of Morningstar Fishermen, who will show the video, "Aquaponics". The topic will educate citizens on the breeding and growing of tilapia and culture of plants and vegetables, using the fascinating method of aquaponics. Following the presentation, there will be open discussions.

MARCH 1, from 10:00 am to noon, Program Room A, the DISCUSSION GROUP will share research and experiences related to recycling, composting, rain barrels, and other local sustainable practices. The DISCUSSION GROUP is developing its mission statement and future project ideas.

APRIL 17, from 10:00 am to noon, Program Room C, the DISCUSSION GROUP will feature one of its members, Cristy Abbott, who will show the video, "Fresh". This video is a documentary that celebrates farmers, thinkers, and business people across the U.S. who are re-inventing our food system. Following the presentation, there will be open discussions.

For more information, contact group organizer, Mary DeGeorge-Hampton, (631) 838-2272.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Green Retrofit: Good Business in a Bad Economy

Tarpon Springs - January 20, 2010 - Capitalism usually trumps environmentalism in hard times but this time a confluence of the two is driving a wave of interest in green building improvements.

To learn more join us Tuesday, Feb. 16 from 4:30p – 6:30p at the Palm Harbor Law Offices of Jeffrey A. Herzog for "Green Retrofit: Good Business in a Bad Economy."

The business case for green retrofits is undeniable. Property owners are slashing building-operating costs and even collecting higher rents in some areas as a result of green upgrades. Find out who, where, how, and why financing might not be the obstacle you think it is.

The meeting is free of charge and open to commercial property owners, managers and contractors. Attendance is limited to 25 and space is reserved on a first-come-first-served basis. So, please, RSVP ASAP.

Because North American buildings account for about 40 percent of the continent’s greenhouse gas emissions, inefficient older buildings don’t just pollute. They waste money.

Property owners who install green retrofits today can cut operating costs by as much 50 percent and limit future costs for years to come. Meantime, President Obama has proposed big green-retrofit rebates in an effort to create jobs and drive economic growth.

For details about what this could mean for you join us Feb 16.

Lacey Willard, 2009 Treasurer of BOMA Greater Tampa Bay, will discuss a recent study by CB Richard Ellis that lays out a business rationale for green building construction and refurbishment.

Advait Mantri, LEED Certification Auditor for the Green Building Certification Institute, will discuss LEED prerequisites, utility incentives and specific, cost-cutting retrofits.

Ed Crawford, a consultant for Soltility, Inc. will discuss tax credits and financing options, including a means by which Florida buildings can be converted to photovoltaic power with a minimal initial investment.

To RSVP contact David Hackett at RAM Insurance Services by calling 727-942-9363 or send email to

David Hackett
RAM Insurance Services
210 S. Pinellas Avenue
Suite 195
Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Monday, January 18, 2010

If the Climate is Warming – Why is it So Cold?

Mary Campbell, Extension Director and Urban Sustainability Agent

A question that is often asked – “Why do we have record setting cold weather in the middle of global warming? “ The term “global warming” is often confusing and that is why the term “climate change” is beginning to be used more frequently. The term global warming refers to the specific increase in global temperatures caused by the increase in greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. Globally, surface air temperatures increased by approximately 1oF during the 20th century. Some regions of the world have experienced much greater warming; Alaska and the Antarctic Peninsula, for example, have warmed by approximately 4oF over the same time period. Other regions of the world, such as the oceans of the Southern Hemisphere and the interior of Antarctica, have not experienced warming. Very small changes in temperature can have big impacts on sensitive ecosystems.

Climate Change refers to changes in the climate over decades – not just seasonal changes or local weather patterns. So the local conditions at any particular time are really weather patterns and should not be confused with climate change or global warming. There may be a wetter spring or a warmer or cooler winter one year, but climate change refers to sustained changes taking place over very long periods. Some of the sustained changes to the environment that scientists are seeing are: greater frequency of droughts and flood; melting of polar ice caps and sea level rise due to warmer ocean temperatures; changes in plants and wildlife migration patterns; and pest and disease spread.

The frequency of more severe weather patterns supports what scientists predicted as one of the impacts of climate change. Due to warmer air temperatures holding larger amounts of water vapor – it can create droughts in some areas and then floods in other areas – or more snow and sleet. Some of the records for severe weather – hottest days on record, major floods, sustained droughts - have been observed in the past decade. The observed warming over the 20th century was accompanied by a 10% increase in precipitation in the Northern Hemisphere and an increase in global sea-level of 4-8 inches.

So the next time the weatherman reports unusually cold weather – we may want to think about that. On the short term it is simply local weather conditions, but added to the long-term data that scientists study to understand overall climate, it will be another piece in the puzzle.

Please join me for a Webinar on the Basics of Climate Change to hear about why scientists are concerned and some of the common myths


Extreme Events - US Environmental Protection Agency
Science FAQs - Pew Center on Global Climate Change

Monday, January 11, 2010

Grants for ‘Green’ Job Training

Vestina F. Crayton, Pinellas County Extension Specialist, Urban Sustainability.

On January 6th the Department of Labor (DOL) announced the availability of approximately $100 million dollars in grant funds for ‘green’ training. $28 million is earmarked for the communities that were impacted by the auto industry reorganization. These funds are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The DOL has made ‘green’ jobs a primary focus. To show their commitment, in November 2009, the DOL awarded $55 million dollars in grant funds to various organizations for workforce training.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis “believes that strong partnerships are the key to the country’s success in strengthening not just training programs but also employers and industries. That’s why the training initiatives at the Department of Labor frequently involve strong partnerships with community colleges, local businesses, and workforce development boards.” Source: Department of Labor

These DOL grant funds will assist unemployed individuals with acquiring the critical skills needed to take advantage of emerging green industries. Areas of opportunities can be found in energy efficiency and the development of clean and renewable energy sources. Some of the careers of interest include but are not limited to solar panel installers, weatherization specialists, energy and wind workers and hybrid/electric auto specialists.

What does this mean for Florida? Join Vestina F. Crayton, Urban Sustainability Extension Specialist for Pinellas County Extension’s Solutions in 30 Webinar Green Jobs on Wednesday, January 20, 2010, 12:15pm- 12:45pm to learn more.


Department of Labor ‘Good Jobs, Safe Jobs, Green Jobs’ online article 2010 January 6

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Solutions in 30 – What is a Green Job?

With concerns about pollution, climate change and energy dependence, green industries – those businesses that focus on sustainability - will become more important in the future economy. This will ultimately lead to more jobs in these new and exciting fields.

Join Pinellas County Extension Services at 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 20 for a 30-minute introductory webinar addressing these newly-emerging green jobs.

Vestina Crayton, Extension Urban Sustainability Specialist, will describe what a green job is, what training is required, where to apply for employment and what experts are predicting for the industry.

A webinar is an audio and visual seminar transmitted over the Internet through the computer so internal or external speakers are necessary to get the full benefit. Webinars also allow visitors to interact with the presenter and the content. Solutions in 30 seminars also make sense because the format offers time saving results by eliminating travel, looking for parking spaces and the hassles of scheduling. Participation is fast, convenient, easy and ideal for multiple listeners.

To register and learn more about this free webinar, visit, click on the “Online Class Registration” button and click on the Solutions in 30 button or call (727) 582-2100.