Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Conservation- a virtue for our future

Conserving is a virtue.  Saving translates into wise living. "Eco" comes from the Greek meaning house and it is time we best put our house in better order. When we waste less then collectively we prosper more.

I have been fortunate to be a participant in several conservation tipping points.  I have observed that we Americans are reexamining our wasteful habits. However our culture of consumption needs to be readdressed with a longer time frame in mind.

Our challenge is to invest in future accountability by better resource management.  Just as we create a financial retirement plan so may we secure our future natural capital. There is a green awakening where Americans wish to lessen our debt, waste and ignorance. Recovering these assets will minimize our liabilities.  Also we will discover how important it is for us to cooperate together and create new opportunities.

One perfect example of how we must become more accountable is how we can best manage the by-products of energy. For example, America must improve all aspects of how we use and dispose of oil. Americans use 20,730,000 barrels per day¹ One trillion gallons of oilfield waste are injected into deep wells each year in the U.S. As auto DIY consumers, we yearly throw away 400 million gallons of used oil and 300 million oil filters in the United States. We comprise less than 5 percent of the world's population, but consume 25 percent of all oil produced. Our present usage of fossil fuels makes us appear more like fossil fools.

Shifting our excessive consumption to better manage future resources secures new prospects. Only when we best address such prospects we reuse lost materials into new goods. I estimate Americans yearly use, discard and recycle more than 17 billion tons of waste, not including nuclear and hazardous waste. Shifting from a mentality of "out of sight, out of mind" to "insight and mindful" we add to all facets of our well being,

There are millions of ingenious acts  that translate in stimulating our economy. Promoting sustainable economic growth by transforming waste is an investment in our happiness. From switching off lights and excess electric use to reusing roof water for our garden there are countless ways to save.

Can we see that our resources are interconnected with human prosperity? What we do affects our planet, and also impacts our very spirit. Without one we will not have the other. Conserving matters, creating new innovative life-affirming and life-enhancing opportunities.

Conserving is tied to the very notion of human excellence. A rich life does not necessarily translate into a richer life if we leave a big mess behind. Americans can demonstrate their virtue by efficient resource management.

Conservation matters since it produces further sustainable enterprises. Let's profit by conserving and pass on a greener legacy for future generations.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Profiting with a Greener Shenandoah Valley

Nearly 90 percent of the Washington DC metro region depends on the Potomac and its major tributary, the Shenandoah for clean drinking waterAlso the Shenandoah valley supplies billions dollars in agriculture, timber, tourism and other environmental benefits. One hundred years ago we wisely established the George Washington National Forest to help preserve this watershed.

According to the Chesapeake Bay clean-up estimates, well over $2 billion is needed to restore the Shenandoah River to meet clean water goals. To do this we must develop new jobs and outreach programs to meet these needs. More than 1,300 miles of rivers and streams in the Shenandoah watershed fail to meet Federal clean water standard because of excess nutrients, sediment, and other pollutants. To meet this challenge we can change our very attitude on how we do business from short term to long term profits and also account for how much we are willing to invest in the value of this watershed.

How we grow in the Shenandoah Valley will impact our water, air and land. Promoting improved technologies and programs can result in increased economic benefits through emerging “green” infrastructure requirements (e.g reduced runoff volumes and nutrient export from a site).

New innovations must be explored as we see these as beginning economic development tools for our valley since how we allow our land to be developed can be a win/win situation if we exercise prudence. How we respect our valley raises fundamental questions about what new jobs we can provide for future generations. Over 75 years ago 2 billion trees were planted by Civilian Conservation Corps. Since the first camp began right in the middle of the valley, training the youth in conservation has historic implications.

New Advancements = New Jobs
The valley can become an advocate for new employment opportunities and stimulated new businesses to come to this region to support this demand for green industry.

Design “With” Nature
Similar to how water runs down our roof down spouts it can be cleaned when plants absorb and recycle this spoiled water. Everyone has an opportunity to design a rain type garden to prevent pollution and water our plants and lawns since waste lots of money on watering and flushing with valuable drinking water instead of water reuse.

Such improved site design can also reduce the need to clear and grade the area increasing erosion control practices and can result in significant cost savings to builders. Much of the reduction in capital costs can be attributed to a reduction in impervious cover.

Non Point Pollution Prevention Measures
The greatest challenge in the environmental protection today is getting individuals to not do such things as litter, conserve water and energy, improperly throw away their toxic household by-products, fertilize their lawn, reduce their waste, and other sustainable measures. These directly or indirectly impact the Shenandoah Valley watershed is and such behaviors must be targeted and changed since this is the largest source of pollution, our collective selves.

Water Reuse Pollution Prevention Measures
How our well, spring, cistern, septic, alternative or municipal water/wastewater system operates and is managed plays a critical role on keeping our water clean. Failing systems, source water pollution and other problems all impact the watershed. Measures to address this infra-structure and development management tools are critical. Water reuse is going to be another key technology to develop.

Improved Best Management Practices
American’s need to realize we face another form of serious terror, how we foul our environment. Just a simple act of throwing a can out of a car has an environmental impact. Collectively, how people change their car oil, or clean-up their animal waste or fertilize their lawn impact the Shenandoah River. People cause pollution and the source to control it. Without collective behavior change and improved good housekeeping measures the greatest source of our water impairment.

Reduce First, Reuse Second and Recycle Last
More people recycle today then vote resulting in both a blessing and a curse. Reuse and reduction are far more favorable ways to better our environment then picking up grass and glass bottles at the curb. Maybe a better investment can be made in composting new top soil and creating reusable oil filters as best use of limited resources and dollars

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Oh Shenandoah I Love You

I feel so fortunate to live in the middle of the Shenandoah Valley. Because of this blessing I best honor this precious place that is my home.  I do this with many forms of conserving that also brings me much delight. 

When I directly preserve my valley I get inner joy from this amazing intention.  Keeping Shenandoah beautiful and green, I do my part and so reap great rewards.  The more I can show my love for the Shenandoah the better I feel.  I benefit from the land; air and water.  The greater I can show my appreciation for this place the more magical my home becomes.

Shakespeare said, action is eloquence. My choice to go beyond just these words with actual deeds gives me new freedom and possibility. Conserving my environment I act like a mother protecting her child. Such compassion, wonder, sensitivity, respectfulness, courage, love, appreciation, tenacity, and gratitude, are the liberating virtues that fully inspire me in this amazing stewardship. Creating this connection is tied to the very notion of human excellence. I flourish when I demonstrate a healthier relationship with things connected to my surroundings. 

Just a simple act like riding a bicycle instead of driving a car serves to better our world. Saving water, recycling, planting trees; there are so many ways to show I can show my devotion to  this place. My very well being is tied to how I show thanks to my beloved valley.  Things pick up in many ways when I just remove litter.  

I lead by example when I choose to become more sustainable everyday. Moreover, this wisdom results in greater well being because I become the agent of keeping things green.
Caring for the land, I tap into a higher source of happiness simply by conserving.  I reap much wealth by increasing my interconnection to my home here in this magnificent Valley.  Acting to green betters myself and all things here in the Shenandoah.