Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dreaming of A Green Bethesda

Dreaming of A Green Bethesda
Waste less equals sustaining more.

When you say Bethesda, Maryland the first thing that comes to mind is the President’s hospital and the home of National Institute of Health. However, seeds for our future prosperity are now being planted here. My vision of Green Bethesda is an organic merging of the arts with the sciences to celebrate a richer quality of life. This effort can emulate nature so to mimic and embodies the wealth of diversity and inter-relationships

Health, economy and environmental management are all interconnected and related. Now, Bethesda, Maryland is one setting transforming this vision into reality. A sound body comes only by conserving at home and celebrating the heartfelt psychic benefit of exploring wiser ways to conserve. In recovery not only there is discovery, yet innovative new technologies and ways to enjoy a better life.

Green Bethesda is investing in increased environmental wellness affecting our entire community. For example, if we in this area can reduce our carbon footprint by becoming more energy efficient. Up to forty percent of those reductions would pay for themselves. Promoting and attracting like-minded people, businesses and cultivating future green enterprises is the tenor of the times. Green Bethesda symbolizes a change accelerating not just increased energy efficient technologies but founding new carbon neutral enterprises.

Green Bethesda is about stimulating people to better manage our natural resources. As America ventures into new marketplaces to trade carbon, water and biodiversity, Green Bethesda offers new form of eco-park near our nation’s capital. Trillions of dollars are going to be invested and millions of green jobs created in the upcoming years developing livability endeavors.

Green Bethesda is about changing our culture from consumers to conservers. Green Bethesda can demonstrate when we better take care of the world; we better everything including ourselves.

Green Bethesda shows the vital connection between increased well-being, health and improved environmental management. Best resource management and other environmental community actions will benefit Bethesda in exponential ways. Bethesda will profit from not just pollution prevention since becoming more green directly result in increased commerce, freedom, and joy. Green Bethesda is a celebration of life since it acts to sustain livability in all its forms!

If you wish to become involved go to
www.bethesdagreen.org

Thursday, April 24, 2008

U.S. Materials Flows Accounting Report

A recent World Resources Materials Flow report* tracks the ebb and flow of how stuff goes through our economy and out into the environment . For example of these 169 materials are toxic substances— such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, and others—whose life cycle, reflect the strengths and weaknesses in our national regulatory policies and procedures.

According this study the U.S. showed more efficient use of fossil fuels, metals and minerals, and renewable resources. However, the trend in per capita consumption of material (a coincident indicator) is increasing, with a rise of some 23 percent over the study period. If the U.S. economy were solidly on a path to sustainability, this indicator would be declining.

The total consumption of materials (a lagging indicator) grew 57 percent over the study period, to 6.5 billion metric tons in 2000. If the United States had been a sustainable economy during this period, we would have avoided the creation of 25 billion tons of waste (and its subsequent disposal into our air and water and onto our land).

This report documents the challenges of our time is improved resource management and to shift to environmentally preferable materials. Meeting this challenge will require new processes and increasingly complex, far-reaching partnerships among government, business, and civil society. Material flows accounting can provide the common scorecard that all the parties need to facilitate these collaborations and make them in the fure more successful.

This is the third report, focuses on the United States and accounts of material flows from 1975 to 2000. It presents the accounts in aggregate and by economic sector, examines specific flows of environmental or economic importance, and recommends next steps.

FINDINGS
1. Consumption. In absolute terms, total material consumption increased from 1975 to 2000 by 57 percent to 6.5 billion metric tons in 2000. Per capita consumption increased by 23 percent. The majority of growth can be explained by an 83 percent increase in built infrastructure of materials associated with industrial development.

This report documents a national increase of 52 percent in the number of housing units and a greater intensity of material use per housing according to U.S. Census Bureau findings from 1975 to 2000.

2. Material Efficiency. While both total and per capita consumption of materials increased between 1975 and 2000, consumption declined relative to GDP by 31 percent. This gain in efficiency is attributable to a general dematerialization in the U.S. economy: 84 percent of the absolute growth in GDP during the study period was in the services sector.

3. Material Outputs. Nearly 2.7 billion metric tons of materials were returned to the environment as waste (outputs) in 2000. Total outputs have increased by 26 percent since 1975, and the most environmentally harmful outputs—synthetic and persistent organic chemicals, radioactive compounds, and heavy metals—have increased by 24 percent to 16 million metric tons. While many policies to control point-source and industrial pollution levels have curbed hazardous releases into the environment, toxic releases from diffuse sources such as imported consumer electronics have increased. For example, more than 60 percent of the cadmium consumed in 2000 was contained in imported batteries. Only 32 percent of all cadmium was recycled in 2000.

4. International Comparisons. Per capita material consumption in the United States is more than 50 percent higher than the average of 15 European Union countries. This difference could be due either to the presence of more extensive extractive
industries (e.g., mining and forestry) here.


RECOMMENDATIONS
Developing a system of national material accounts could enable more effective policymaking in both the public and private sectors. The establishment of a central organization—a Center for Material Flows—to manage the collection, analysis, and dissemination of material flows accounts in the United States. Also established a materials accounting framework to fully capture the physical and chemical changes observed in materials and expand and synthesize core data across the life cycle of a material. Finally integrate such material flows analysis into environmental and economic decision-making. Because material flows accounts track the movement of goods into and out of the economy, they can be used as early warning indicators of potential threats to human health and undesirable changes in natural resources.

Certainly the U.S. will prosper by improved material flow accounting to track where everything comes from and where it goes!

* DONALD ROGICH, AMY CASSARA, IDDO WERNICK, MARTA MIRANDA, MATERIAL FLOWS IN THE UNITED STATES, 2008,WRI:ISBN 978-1-56973-682-1 http://materials.wri.org.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Green Gardening

Green garden is about being mindful of being gentle with the earth. The less you waste the more you and the land benefits. Protecting resources is the key focus. For example, our Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. However since it is one of the most productive in the world, its continual decline due to nutrient over-enrichment is of concern. Over thirty years of research illustrated that the main concerns of the Bay were nutrient over-enrichment, dwindling Bay grasses, and toxic pollution. Invasive plants are just another environmental challenge destroying fragile ecosystems. Land can be used and developed in ways that minimize impact on water quality improve water quality and allow aquatic life to flourish.

Also, climate change is creating all sorts of other concerns. Increased rainfall and drought and a host of other concerns; refer to arborday.org and refer to Hardiness zone map.

The EPA estimates that 54 million Americans work on their lawn and do landscaping each weekend burning 800 million gallons of gasoline with their lawn mowers, leaf blowers and weed eaters. Unfortunately the emissions from these devices are much worst than our late model cars.

A tremendous area of concern is non-point source pollution from the 5 million lawns in the Bay since excessive lawn fertilizing is a significant source of nutrient pollution. So developing and implementing home nutrient reduction strategies is critical. Better managed lawns would reduce the amount of excess nutrients entering the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, thus improving water quality.

Nationwide we spend annually $350 million on grass seed and manage over 30 million acres of lawn. Each year Americans apply 100 million tons of fertilizer and over 80 million pounds pesticides to their yards.

Another source of nitrogen pollution comes from air emissions mowing and collecting these clippings. Roughly, 40 hours per year the average homeowner spends behind his power mower using 10 gallons of gas emitting ten times more hydrocarbons then a typical car. Grass clippings consume a large part of landfill space during the growing season requiring further cost to transport and dispose of this valuable material.

Finally, 30 percent of the water on the East Coast goes to watering lawns. A 10,000 square feet of turf uses 10,000 gallons of water per summer.

Green Garden Maintenance Practices

1) Use water wisely
2) Reduce toxins (pesticides and fertilizers) and run-off
3) Lessen erosion
4) Integrated plant and pest management
5) Yardcycle and compost
6) Cultivate more natural ways
7) Protect and preserve ecosystem

The art of gardening is simple process. You get what you put into it. If you fail to plan you will plan to fail and impact others living things. Be skillfull and enjoy emulating nature where you waste little and harvest a wonderful organic experience!

Green Work

On April 17, seventy five years ago in my home town of Edinburg, Virginia the first Civilian Conservation Corps began. Today the need for green jobs can offer the economic opportunity of the century – but only if we take advantage of this huge opportunity.

Today, these industries generate 8.5 million jobs and nearly $1 trillion in annual revenue in the United States, and they contain some of the fastest growing sectors in the economy. Among the study’s findings are: if the country fails to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency, it runs the risk of losing ground to global competitors. If policy and regulatory barriers to the sustained development of the industry are not addressed now, other countries like Germany, Denmark, and China will take the lead and reap the economic benefits. However, this new report also illustrates the tremendous opportunity for the United States to harvest these green collar jobs and how these industries, with the correct support, are poised to be economic powerhouses for the 21st century .

A new report from the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society shows that as many as 1 out of 4 workers in the U.S. will be working in the renewable energy or energy efficiency industries by 2030.

This is the nation’s first comprehensive report on the size and growth of the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries – and the numbers are great news for American workers. This green collar job report shows that these industries already generate 8.5 million jobs in the U.S., and with appropriate public policy, could grow to as many as 40 million jobs by 2030.

“The green collar job boom is here,” said Neal Lurie, Director of Marketing of the American Solar Energy Society. “Renewable energy and energy efficiency are economic powerhouses.” This new report is called Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency: Economic Drivers for the 21st Century. It is available for free download at: www.ases.org

Key findings of the report include:
· By the year 2030, the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries could generate up to $4.5 trillion in revenue in the U.S., but only with the appropriate public policy, including a renewable portfolio standard, renewable energy incentives, public education, and R&D
· The 40 million jobs that could be created in renewable energy and energy efficiency by 2030 are not just engineering-related, but also include millions of new jobs in manufacturing, construction, accounting, and management
· Renewable energy and energy efficiency industries today generate nearly $1 trillion in revenue in the U.S. contributing more than $150 billion in tax revenue at the federal, state, and local levels
· Revenue from the energy efficiency sector -- including from energy efficient windows, appliances, insulation, and recycling -- is currently larger than revenue from renewable energy, but the renewable energy industry is growing much more quickly. Solar, wind, ethanol, and fuel cells are likely to be some of the hottest areas of growth.