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Monday, March 29, 2010

How does Your Footprint Measure Up?

Mary Campbell, Urban Sustainability Agent

You know the size of your footprint, right? Or maybe not, if we are talking about the imprint that you leave on the planet from the resources you use and the waste you generate. But what if you are doing the right things to reduce your environmental footprint like recycling, energy conservation and buying local? How much does that make a difference?

Americans on average have the largest footprint in the world due to our high level of consumption. We consume 24% of the world’s energy with only 5% of the population. So is that a problem? If everyone starts to live like we do it is. With developing countries like China and India aspiring to similar lifestyles – multiplied by the population (2.6 billion) – we could have a major overshoot of our planet’s resources. If everyone lived the lifestyle of the average American we would need 5 planets.

There are methods to calculate your ecological or environmental footprint. Calculators are available on-line to help you determine how many planets it would take if everyone lived the same lifestyle as you. The ecological footprint has emerged as the world’s premier measure of humanity’s demand on nature. It measures how much land and water area a human population requires to produce the resources it consumes and to absorb its wastes, using prevailing technology. Conceived in 1990 by Mathis Wackernagel and William Rees at the University of British Columbia, the ecological footprint is now in wide use by scientists, businesses, governments, and individuals working to monitor ecological resource use and advance sustainable development.

Check out one of these calculators:
Global Footprint Network
Redefining Progress

Join me for Solutions in 30 Webinar on Wednesday, March 31 at 12:15 pm to learn more about Calculating Your Environmental Footprint

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Two Pinellas Businesses Awarded Green Business Partnership

Mary Campbell
Urban Sustainability Agent

Since April 22, 2010 marks the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, it is a great pleasure to be able to recognize businesses in our community that are making a difference and operating in a sustainable way.

The City of Dunedin’s Lasting Impressions and the City of St. Petersburg’s C&D Printing have achieved Pinellas County’s Green Business Partnership designation. Each business has demonstrated their commitment to operating at the highest level of efficiency that promotes sound environmental practices and cost effectiveness that benefits their business, as well as the community.

The Green Business Partnership is a voluntary assessment that recognizes businesses for their environmental stewardship and sustainable practices. It encourages conservation of resources, waste reduction, energy conservation and cost savings. The Pinellas Green Business Partnership program encourages businesses to evaluate current operations and implement sustainable practices that are feasible and beneficial.

We would like to recognize Lee Mullen, owner of Lasting Impressions who has implemented many green practices including installing LED lighting throughout his facility which reduced energy consumption by half and provided a significant cost savings.

We would also like to recognize Bill Serata, owner of C&D Printing. One of the green practices that Bill supports is recycling and he recycles aluminum printing plates, plastics, paper and cardboard, which not only helps the environment, but provides money back which reduces operating costs. As a result, these savings are passed on to the customer.

Congratulations Lasting Impressions and C&D Printing for being our first Pinellas Green Business Partners.

If you would like to learn more about the Green Business Partnership, click here

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Florida Ocean’s Day

Ramona Madhosingh-Hector
Urban Sustainability Agent
UF/IFAS Pinellas County Extension

The Florida Ocean Alliance and the Florida Oceans and Coastal Council celebrates Florida Oceans Day on March 10, 2010.

Pinellas County surrounded by the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay enjoys a unique water heritage and the mixing of these waters through our many bays supports a spectacular fishing industry. As stewards of the environment, our efforts should focus not only on our land but also on our water.

Our residents enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle - we cherish our rights to boat, swim, fish, and consume high quality seafood. Here at Pinellas County Extension, we’ve written many articles on how to “green” your office, home and work environments. In this article, we’d like to emphasize green thinking as it relates to our coasts and oceans. As you may recall, sustainability is focused on the economy, environment and society and nowhere are these linkages more important than in our coastal environment. Our oceans support our economy, enhance our connections to nature, and provide recreational opportunities.

Florida oceans support a multi-billion dollar industry that is primarily based around fishing, tourism and recreation, and trade. According to the 2008 Phase II report produced by the National Ocean Economics Program (NOEP), Florida’s coastal economy generated $562B in 2006 while Florida’s ocean economy generated $25B in 2005. NOEP distinguishes between coastal and ocean economies to account for economic activity located along the coast and economic activity using the ocean.

In recognition of Florida Oceans Day:
  • support the safe boating laws that protect our manatees
  • the clean marina regulations that prevent water pollution, and
  • the fishing regulations that protect marine life
Above all else, pledge to protect and preserve Florida’s oceans so that future generations can enjoy.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Welcome To Florida---Help!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010
9:00 am- 1:00 pm
Location: Pinellas County Extension

After walking in the front door of Florida’s oasis, learning about the tropical plants, strange and sometimes menacing looking critters, unruly weather patterns, all while grasping the critical conservation issues can be challenging! Don’t worry—Sensing Nature®, LLC senior wildlife biologist, Jeanne Murphy and senior ecologist, Brian Lane will make it easy by introducing you to Florida basics and answering your questions from nature fact to folklore.

Let us be your “Welcome to Florida” guides and get you on the correct footing in your new tropical dream state! 3 hours classroom; 1 hour outdoors. Wear comfortable clothing for an easy outdoor walk, closed-toed shoes, bring sunscreen and water.

This activity is free
Click here to register