Wednesday
Jun222011

Wanna help facilitate a key local change?

We are Looking for "Green" Volunteers! 

Alabama Glass Recyclers (formerly Green Mountain Glass) is looking for volunteers to help us muster-up glass recycling! We have developed a partnership with Operation Green Team who has agreed to pay for the set up fee for our barrel collection program! This means that any bar or restaurant that wants to sign up with us doesn't have to pay a thing!  We would love to get our community involved with effort and are looking for volunteers who would like to go door-to-door or cold call the restaurants and bars across Madison County and offer them 2 barrels to sign up with us!  They just have to commit to actually putting GLASS in the barrels as much as they can and need to fill at least one barrel a week.  That is a piece of cake for most businesses, especially if their employees decide to use the barrel for their personal use.  Please contact me, Tina (tina@alabamaglassrecyclers.com), if you have any volunteers willing to target an area of town that we are lacking collection in and feel good about getting the community recycling glass!  Thanks!

Tuesday
May242011

The Tennessee Valley Green U Awards 

http://www.greenualabama.com/Awards_Green_U.html

Guidelines and Tips:

 •NOTE there are three types of forms:

  Please make sure you are filling out the right form -for example if you are nominating your new green building then don’t fill out the form for a green business, like wise if you have a great “green” employee don’t describe them with the Business form  

  • People -individuals, families, friends, co-workers
  • Development and Development Products -buildings (homes, corporate offices, etc.), neighborhoods, communities – this is the form for you
  • Businesses and Non-profits (small, medium, large) – we want to know about how you operate greener – or about the green products you produce

 • Check off ALL the appropriate boxes and fill in ALL the blanks you can – our judges are great at reading everything you enter – but they are terrible at guessing

• Brag, brag, brag – let us know all the wonderful “green” details that make this nomination the right choice for the award you are going after

• SO….Don’t hesitate to add additional pages or other information that will set this nomination apart from all the rest

• Provide ALL contact information as requested so we can notify you and also notify your nominee

• Get your paper work in on time – July 8, 2011 

Monday
Mar282011

Our Sustainable Community: The Calling of our Time

On May 11, 2009, the Green Cities™ Huntsville Summit was held at the Space and Rocket Center. What a fitting location for the launching of a new era in our history of the Huntsville/Madison County metropolitan area.  The Huntsville Summit was a visioning planning exercise by leaders in the government, business, community, and education sectors to lay out the specific needs facing our metropolitan area in the near term with a focus on future sustainability.  It further targeted the opportunities we have before us as a well as the many difficulties.  Certainly, it was a lesson in understanding the many challenges we will face as we drive toward sustainability but also further solidified the great opportunities we have in front of us in Huntsville/Madison County. Here it is 2011, almost two years later, and we are continuing the push toward sustainability understanding and implementation in our community. 

Make no mistake, the drive to a sustainable community is going to be an expansive effort and a major undertaking that must involve our entire metropolitan area.  As we were challenged during the space race in the 1960’s, so must our efforts match those of the leaders of that era.  We must not shrink from this challenge, but engage it with a definitive and actionable plan to move our community into the forefront of sustainability in the nation.  The obvious question is why now? The reason is simple.   A sustainable community is simply the calling of our time.  Just as the Saturn V rocket was developed as the solution to the challenge of getting to the moon, so our community has been challenged to develop a solution to the vision of a sustainable community.   This solution must be practical and equitable for all.

The practical application of sustainability practices and principles starts with a simple change in perspective from a more singular approach to a more global perspective. This shift in perspective can be applied in business, education, government, or in your own personal life.  Let’s look at an example of sustainability in a residential structure, specifically water efficiency.   Thinking on a global scale, if we are able to build a house that needs 80% less water than a standard house, the water utility could downsize the distribution lines, thus saving money and resources to all users, and would not have to use as much power pumping and cleaning water to deliver to the house, again, saving energy and reducing resource consumption. How about electrical service?  If we are able to build a house that required no electrical energy from the grid, then the local utility would not need to provide service to the house, then the electric utility would not need to size the transmission lines as large to that development, and therefore the generating plant would not consume as much fuel to create that electricity for that house.  Sustainability makes sense, is practical, and focuses on the global perspective to target and approach the future needs of our community.

The challenges we face as a region in the near term and foreseeable future can be met head on with the proper development and implementation of a practical sustainability plan.  This will lead to increased economic activity, sustainable job creation, practical and effective resource management and environmental policies that will benefit the entire community as a whole.  It will propel our region into continued prosperity now and in the future.  As we work together, we will certainly agree on some avenues of approaching sustainability, and we will most certainly disagree on other approaches.  But, as we work together toward a common vision and goal, we will all learn along the way, and at the end of the day, we will be delivering a sustainable future for our community.  What will this sustainable future look like? What will it encompass?  Who at this point is to say.  It is a future that will hold great promise for future generations if we are bold enough as a community to take hold of these concepts, and stand up and answer this calling of our time.

 

John Allen, PE, GMB, CGR, CAPS, CGP
President
Southern Construction & Design Inc.
Cell: 256-652-6857 Fax: 256-325-5427
www.southern-construction.com

 

NAHB Green Building Standard Verifier
www.nahbgreen.org

Monday
Mar282011

The Red and Blue go Green

Students at Huntsville High School are making big efforts to go green. This can be seen just walking down the halls on any given day. From friendly recycling reminders on the hall bulletin boards to the advertisements for Green Club, it is clear teenagers at HHS are taking initiative to support our environment. There are well over 40 recycling bins in assorted classrooms. In addition, a large recycling bin has just been added to the lunchroom so that students don't have to wait to recycle in the classroom.

All of this would not be possible without Green Club, which works to collect the recycling after school. They are also responsible for those "Please Recycle" signs found all around campus. Kasia Wetlinski, President, says that Green Club has recently partaken in both the Adopt-a-Mile and Adopt-a-Rainforest programs. Adopt-a-Mile helps keep American roads liter free while Adopt-a-Rainforest works to preserve the tropical rainforests. This fantastic student group has grown greatly and made huge progress since it was founded only three years ago. However, Green Clubers aren't the only ones on the move.

Biology Club, founded only this year, is working on planting trees around campus. As the club gets going, they have big plans for the future will involve using Biological knowledge and experiments to help the local environment. The "green craze" has hit the student body at large. Reusable water bottles are used by the majority of students and were even featured in the school newspaper this year. Many are also making the switch from brown paper lunchbags to reusable lunchbags. One student, Rachel Sullivan, even made hers out of duct tape. She says, "One day I realized just how many brown bags I had thrown away during my life and what a waste it was". Huntsville High, and I'm sure many other schools, has made huge progress in three years alone. The fact that it is the students, not the faculty, who are so hard to make this a greener world is truly inspiring. 

Monday
Mar072011

Community Farms Create Many Jobs in Cuba

Urban farms are enjoying a period of great success in Cuba. Jesse Kurtz-Nichols profiles one of Cuba’s cooperatively-run urban farms. The farm called organiponico is located on a four block plot in the middle of Havana and it produces 15 different crops for local markets year-round. But what really makes organiponico so remarkable, is that it is able to employ over 300 community workers and remain profitable.

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