"Thanks for getting in touch!"
Will and the crew at Step it Up 2007
Step it Up 2007!
Step it Up is a new movement aimed at spurring action to protect the environment. Inspired by Bill McKibben, author of the New York Times bestseller - The End of Nature - several college students formed an organizing hub in Burlington, Vermont to tackle climate issues. The Step it Up web site presents a potent graphic of a school of little fish collectively becoming a big fish with a big voice.
Step it Up 2007 fostered National Day for Climate Action on April 14, resulting in "over 1,400 actions and 847 report-backs" across the country, some at iconic focal points such as the levees of New Orleans. Step it Up reported to EcoMotion that, "All in all, the endeavor was as you said, a wild success, and it's been remarkable witnessing all the crowds joining in this effort."
Step it Up plans to co-promote events and awareness, focusing next on Live Earth, a series of seven concerts planned on seven continents being promoted by Al Gore. Step it Up is also supporting the Campus Climate Challenge, and encouraging citizens to become "climate voters." Step it Up is working with MoveOn.Org's 3.2 million members for a petition demanding 80% carbon cuts by 2050. For more information, see www.Stepitup2007.org
Solar Growing "by the Football Field"
Portugese Installation:After eight months of construction and testing, the 11-megawatt Catavento solar power plant was dedicated on schedule in Portugal. The installation involves 52,000 modules that occupy 150 acres, some 80 football fields of space. The plant uses PowerLight's PowerTracker system that follows the sun's daily path across the sky to generate more electricity than conventional fixed-mounted systems.
Largest Solar Power Plant in North America: On April 23rd SunEdison, Xcel Energy, and Colorado's Governor Bill Ritter will break ground on the largest photovoltaic solar power plant in North America. Located in Alamosa, Colorado, this 8.2 megawatt facility will help Colorado reach its 20% renewable portfolio goal by 2020. (According to EcoMotion member Rio de la Vista, "It's a big step forward for our community!")
The World's Largest Photovoltaic Plant: The juwi Group has received building approval for a 40 MW photovoltaic project in Germany. It will be the world's biggest PV power system. The installation in Saxony in eastern Germany will be about one kilometre wide and approximately two kilometres long, taking more than an hour to walk around. The installation will involve 550,000 thin-film German modules. According to juwi's co-managing director, "The surface area of the installation compares to about 200 soccer fields."
The Home Depot's Eco-Options Labeling
Home Depot has launched an environmental labeling program in the United States that will label nearly 3,000 of its products as environmentally friendly.
Already tested in its Canadian stores, the initiative is expected to include 6,000 products by 2009, representing 12% of the chain's sales. More than 90% of the products in the line are already on Home Depot's shelves. The "Eco Options" brand will identify them as environmentally friendly.
Home Depot introduced Eco Options products in Canada in 2004, where the company has fewer than 200 stores - and so far, sales have been strong. The program may quickly become the largest green labeling program in American retailing, potentially persuading competitors and other major retailers to speed up their own plans.
Home Depot is the country's second-largest retailer and the world's largest buyer of construction material.
The company said it had asked suppliers to produce Eco Option goods at the same prices as conventional merchandise, but realizes that many environmentally sensitive products carry a price premium. Suppliers that qualify for the Eco Options label will be rewarded with preferential treatment - like prominent shelf space in the nearly 2,000 Home Depot stores in the United States and aggressive marketing through weekly newspaper inserts.
So what's in? Products like fluorescent light bulbs, natural insect killers, and organic vegetables and herbs in garden centers. The line also includes new silicone window and door sealants, a glass cleaner that has low levels of volatile organic compounds, and an organic plant food. Merchandise qualifies in two ways, either meeting federal and industry standards, or being tested and validated by Scientific Certification Systems.
New York City's Greenhouse Gas Emissions
New York City produces nearly 1% of the nation's greenhouse gas emissions - an amount that puts it on par with Ireland - according to study commissioned by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He ordered the study to assess progress in achieving the City's goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030.
The study found that the buildings, subways, buses, cars and decomposition of waste in the city produced a net emission of 58.3 million metric tons of greenhouse gases in 2005. The U.S. total was 7.26 billion metric tons that year.
With 8.2 million people, 2.7% of the country's population, the average New York City resident contributes less than a third of the emissions generated by a typical American. This is largely due to the City's mass transit system. The operation of hundreds of thousands of buildings - which consume electricity, natural gas, fuel oil and steam - contributes 79% of the City's emissions total.
The study found that the City's focus on environmentally friendly initiatives - including alternative fuel vehicles, energy-efficient traffic lights and green buildings - appears to have helped stabilize emissions rates. Emissions were still found to have increased by more than 8% between 1995 and 2005.
Campus Notes: UT Chattanooga Students Green Power
Students at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga voted this past week to raise fees by $10 per semester for the campus to buy energy- efficient "green power" from the Tennessee Valley Authority. Results show that 847 of the 1,180 University of Tennessee at Chattanooga students who voted on the issue approved the proposed fee.
Ayla Callihan, vice president of Ecological Decisions for a Global Environment, the student group that has pushed for the new fee, was pleased with the vote and the process of greening the campus. Callihan said the fee also would pay to expand campus recycling and to install energy-saving light bulbs.