Sunday, March 29, 2009

Earth Hour 2009 - Curb Climate Change


Global ‘lights-out’ presses for climate change
AP -- March 29, 2009

CHICAGO — From an Antarctic research base and the Great Pyramids of Egypt to the Empire State Building in New York, illuminated patches of the globe went dark Saturday for Earth Hour, a campaign to highlight the threat of climate change.

Time zone by time zone, nearly 4,000 cities and towns in 88 countries joined the event sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund to dim nonessential lights from 8:30 p. m. to 9:30 p. m. The campaign began in Australia in 2007 and last year grew to 400 cities worldwide.

Organizers initially worried that enthusiasm this year would wane with the world focused on economics, said Earth Hour executive director Andy Ridley. But he said it apparently had the opposite effect.

In New York, the Empire State Building and the U. N. building were among the city landmarks that shut off their lights.

In Buffalo, Mayor Byron Brown said City Hall extinguished all non-essential lights for the entire evening. The Electric Tower also went dark for an hour, then was bathed in green light. Read the full story in The Buffalo News.

UPDATE, March, 30: Check out these fantastic photos from around the world at Boston.com.

VIDEO:

Friday, March 27, 2009

Lights OUT for EARTH HOUR

  • WHAT: EARTH HOUR: Switch Lights OFF for 1 hour
  • WHEN: Saturday, March 28th at 8:30pm - 9:30pm
  • WHERE: Planet Earth
  • WHY: International concern about energy and climate change
Electricity is generated mainly by burning fossil fuels, emitting heat-trapping gases that cause global warming and climate change. Needed is a transition from burning fossil fuels to clean, renewable power sources, and a focus on energy efficiency. World Wildlife Fund is asking individuals, businesses, governments and organizations around the World to turn off their electric lights for one hour – Earth Hour – to make a global statement of concern about climate change and to demonstrate commitment to finding solutions.

Up to 1 Billion people are expected to participate in Earth Hour this year. In 2008, 50 million people in 370 cities and towns across the World turned their lights OFF. Lights went off at places around the globe including the Chicago skyline, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Eiffel Tower, Acropolis, and the Roman Colosseum. Below are some photos taken at Earth Hour in 2008.



Locally, the Buffalo Zoo, students at Daemen College and the University at Buffalo, and others are encouraging people to join this global effort in support of encouraging world leaders to take action on climate change.

The Electric Tower in Buffalo will go dark at 8:30pm, and at 9:30pm, the white tower will be bathed in green light to show solidarity with the green movement.
The Buffalo Common Council passed a resolution designating Saturday as “World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour Day”. “Extinguishing non-essential lights in all city government buildings, public schools and public landmarks for one hour, and urging all businesses and citizens to do the same will send a clear message that the people of Buffalo are concerned about climate change,” the resolution said. Read the story at The Buffalo News.

The lights at nearby Niagara Falls will go off, as will those at
New York City's Broadway theater signs, Rockefeller Center and the Empire State Building. Lights Worldwide will go DARK for Earth Hour.

Join in the effort and turn your Lights OFF at 8:30pm on Saturday. Take a walk outside and look up at the night sky -- you'll see more stars when city lights are off. At home, light a Candle for the Climate.

A Video about Earth Hour is here, and the website is here.

UPDATE: Saturday Morning, March 28 --It's Earth Hour on the other side of the Planet
The Chatham Islands, a group of small islands around 500 miles east of New Zealand, officially kicked off Earth Hour by switching off its diesel generators. Soon after, the lights of Auckland's Sky Tower, the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand, blinked off. At Scott Base in Antarctica, New Zealand's 26-member winter team resorted to minimum safety lighting and switched off appliances and computers. In Australia, where Earth Hour was founded in 2007, Sydney's glittering harbor was bathed in shadows as lights dimmed on the steel arch of the city's iconic Harbour Bridge and the nearby Opera House. Read the full story here.

Video of EARTH HOUR on the other side of the Planet!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Business Gets Green: March 19th

Business Gets Green is a monthly networking series for green businesses and businesses that want to explore going green. All are welcome and admission is Free. The next session will be held on Thursday, March 19th, from 5:30 to 7:30pm at the Buffalo Museum of Science [Map]. Please arrive early. Business Gets Green sessions start promptly at 5:30 and close at 7:30, leaving time for networking.

Agenda:
At 5:30pm, there will be one minute introductions of businesses and green organizations in attendance. Please be prepared to introduce yourself.

Marty Walters - lead organizer of the upcoming May 9th Buffalo Goes Green Expo will give brief description of how the Expo will work as part of the American Solar Energy Society conference week.

Gary Hydock talks about
Business Gets Green synergies. Video Presentation.

The 4 longer presentations at this month's meeting will be from:
1. Ravi Prasad - Helios-NRG is a premier consulting group, particularly well positioned to provide consultation on Industrial Gases production and applications, state-of the-art Separation Technologies, Clean and Renewable Energy, CO2 mitigation and several advanced topics including nano-technology, batteries, heat transfer and fluid flow. The company currently provides consultation to DOE in the area of clean fuels and is looking to develop several projects in the clean/renewable energy arena. Video presentation.

2. David Bradley - Engineering Committee Chair of the Wind Action Group on offshore wind opportunities for the Great Lakes. Video presentation.

3. Greg Stevens of the Buffalo Green Energy Corridor - on their vision for turning the South Buffalo Brownfield Opportunity Area into an exciting Green Energy cluster.
Video presentation.

4. Cyd Cox, Ecologic Home - is a Building Performance Institute accredited contractor who will give specific examples of energy audits Ecologic Home has performed showing incentives used and the savings enjoyed by customers.
Video presentation.

Short Presentations -- Videos

Video recordings of presentations at Business Gets Green sessions are shown on LCTV. To see videos of earlier presentations, visit Jon Allen's VideoWebWorks Business Gets Green Group on YouTube.

NYS Senator Antoine M. Thompson is now the principal sponsor of the ongoing Business Gets Green series. However he won't be able to attend every month and won't be able to attend this Thursday, March 19th.

Questions? Please contact Bill Nowak, newly-appointed Director of Policy Research for NYS Sen.Thompson, at wnowak@senate.state.ny.us

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Green Building Forum: A Blueprint for Change

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18 4:30 TO 6P.M.
KARPELES MANUSCRIPT MUSEUM
220 NORTH STREET, near ELMWOOD AVE. [Map]
A one-hour cocktail reception will immediately follow

Heart of the City Neighborhoods, Inc., in conjunction with the Partnership for Public Good and the UB School of Law presents:

Keynote Speakers
  • Ann Petersen, Homeownership Coordinator, City of Schenectady
  • Dave Sadowsky, Architect, P.C., of Petersburgh, New York
Petersen and Sadowsky were instrumental in the Universal Design Green Affordable Housing prototype project that was completed in Schenectady last year. The project, which created a prototype for an environmentally friendly home to be sold to low-income buyers, won the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s highest award for housing excellence in 2008.

Panelists:
Kevin Connors, eco_logic STUDIO
Sam Magavern, University at Buffalo Law School
Joseph McIvor, Energy Smart Communities, BuffaloNiagara Builders
Nathan Rizzo, Vice President, Solar Liberty Energy Systems, Inc.

The focus of the forum will be to inform contactors, housing agencies, and public officials about the benefits of producing energy efficient and environmentally responsible housing.

To guarantee a seat at this free event, please register at hocnevents@gmail.com. For more information and information on advertising in the program, contact Susan Peters at (716) 882-7661.

Sponsors Websites:
Heart of the City Neighborhoods
Partnership for the Public Good

Sunday, March 15, 2009

In the NEWS 3/15

Methane Gas and Global Climate Change
International experts are alarmed. Methane release due to thawing permafrost in the Arctic can enter the atmosphere and cause abrupt changes in the climate that would likely be irreversible.

Methane has more than 20 times the heat-trapping effect of carbon dioxide. As warmer air thaws Arctic soils, the methane that could be released from beneath Siberian lakes alone, would amount to 10 times the amount currently in the atmosphere. Read the story at BuffaloNews.com and see a brief video of methane fire on Arctic ice here

Hopes [and Fears] rise for Coal Plant in Jamestown
The economic stimulus package includes $800 million for the Department of Energy’s funding of 'clean' coal projects. Supporters of the Jamestown project think this increases the chance that the project will be able to get the funding it needs to get started.

Others, including Walter Simpson, doubt that it makes economic and environmental sense to build a coal-fired power plant that developers hope will ease global warming by capturing its carbon dioxide emissions and storing it safely and securely more than a mile below the earth’s surface. Read David Robinson's story at BuffaloNews.com

New Book about our Local Waterways
Over half of the world’s lakes and estuaries are now too contaminated for fishing and swimming. Even our Great Lakes are not immune to these problems. In her new book, author Margaret Wooster wrote about many such problems, including “a young beluga whale in the Gulf of St. Lawrence with ten times the level of PCBs in its body than what would qualify as a hazardous waste site by Canadian law.” The book is "Living Waters: Reading the Rivers of the Lower Great Lakes". See Nature Watch by Gerry Rising at BuffaloNews.com

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Van Jones: Obama's Green Jobs Adviser

March 10, 2009 -- U.S.NEWS.com
Author, activist and think tank fellow Van Jones will be joining the Obama administration next week as a special adviser on green jobs, reported the White House Council on Environmental Quality today. Jones will work with agencies and departments to advance the administration's climate and energy initiatives, with a special focus on improving vulnerable communities, according to a White House statement. Jones is the founder of "Green For All," an environmental group dedicated to bringing green jobs to the disadvantaged, and the author of "The Green Collar Economy." The full story is here.

Here is the announcement from Van Jones. Below is a video of Van Jones addressing PowerShift 2009 on March 1st:

Sunday, March 8, 2009

UB Students take Green Agenda to DC

A group of University at Buffalo students traveled to Washington, DC last weekend to learn more about clean energy and green jobs, and to lobby area members of Congress for their causes. Student members of the UB Environmental Network joined 12,000 other students from every State in the nation and from other countries attending the PowerShift 2009 conference held at the DC Convention Center.

Keynote speakers, including the new director of the EPA, talked about the environment, renewable energy, green jobs and political activism. Some members of Congressional committees on energy and environment also spoke. At the end of each night, there was music and entertainment. Names of some speakers and entertainers are here.

Below is a video that gives a brief overview of PowerShift 2009:


Buffalo native, Jason Kowalski, Policy Fellow with 1Sky in DC, led a training session of 1400 students at PowerShift on lobbying Congress about legislation on climate change, clean energy and green jobs. See video, below:


Video courtesy of Brighter Planet

A photo of some of the UB students taken during a lobbying session in the office of Congress member Louise Slaughter is shown below.
[click photo to enlarge]
UB students in the photo include Steven Fleck, Michael Mason, Libby Dahl, Kristina Blank, Jordan Gerow, Tyler Manley, Danielle Peters, Esther Dsouza, and Jason Mazurowski, who provided the photo. The students also lobbied at the office of Rep. Chris Lee. Buffalo is proud of these fine young citizens and members of the UB Environmental Network !

The PowerShift Rally at the Capitol West Lawn on Lobby Day is shown in the photo below.
[photo by Carolyn Barnwell]
More information on PowerShift Lobby Day is here, including the list of over 350 Congressional meetings coordinated by the Energy Action Coalition.

UPDATES on PowerShift 2009