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July 23, 2014
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Mixed Greens

Drowning in plastic

I’m preoccupied lately with trying to reduce plastic in my life, beyond obvious things like avoiding single-serve containers, carrying drinking water in a glass bottle, shopping with reusable bags and recycling the plastic I can’t avoid buying. But I had never really thought about plastic as an ingredient in a product I might use until I learned that the New York, California, Illinois and other states are moving to ban plastic microbeads—tiny polyethylene or polypropylene particles found in facial scrubs, shampoos and even toothpastes.  Read more

Capitalizing on the benefits of green

On a day’s outing to SUNY Orange last month for the presentation, “Getting to the Triple Bottom Line: Innovative Finance Strategies to Green Your Business,” I learned about some amazing New York State programs that offer incentives and creative financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy for businesses of all sizes.  Read more

There’s a better way

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has devised an innovative way to address high electricity rates paid by residents of Long Island. Unfortunately, it’s at the expense of the ratepayers of Orange, Dutchess and Ulster counties. Claiming to address capacity issues for delivery of power to New York City, FERC has created a New Capacity Zone(NCZ) that lumps these Mid-Hudson counties in with those downstate, effectively increasing upstate customers’ electricity rates by 4% this year.  Read more

A big step backwards

New York State’s (NYS) new energy plan starts off with an overview, “Shaping the Future of Energy,” which expresses admirable aspirations to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and move to renewable energy generation. The bad news comes in Volume II, which outlines the plan’s specifics in 618 pages of statistics and predictions.  Read more

Engineering a win-win

All around New York State, municipal entities are working out ways to secure the benefits of solar electricity to power their facilities. Onondaga County is installing a solar array at the county’s wastewater management facility. Seneca County will soon power its law enforcement center with solar, and the Schodack Central School District is installing solar panels at four buildings and creating a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) academic instruction program around the installation and operation of the arrays.  Read more

Hearts and minds needed

We humans seem to be attracted to either/or choices, what formal logic calls a dichotomy. This can lead to silly questions like “are you a cat person or a dog person?” Actually, that example is a false dichotomy, because the two things contrasted are not mutually exclusive: it is perfectly possible to love both cats and dogs.  Read more

Let the sun shine

Solar energy is booming across the country and around the world, because it is increasingly affordable, productive and reliable. Utilities in California and Colorado that only recently were considering building natural gas-powered generating plants have announced they will use solar instead, because it’s cheaper.  Read more

The season of hope

I want to share some early Christmas gifts in the form of hopeful news on the sustainability front.  Read more

Great expectations

The crisp autumn air conjures up the delicious expectancy that characterized the months of November and December in my childhood. I recall my parents cooking the ritual Thanksgiving dishes, unchanged from year to year by family decree. These pleasures were followed by a flurry of activities—the Christmas tree, the food, school pageants, fruitcake baking and, of course, shopping. The extravagant department store displays made shopping an occasion that far outweighed the significance of what we bought.  Read more

A disgraceful tale from the Land of Plenty

One in two American children will be on the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) at some time in their lives; one in four goes to bed hungry every night. In 1980 there were 200 food banks in the U.S.; today there are 40,000. Fifty million Americans live in a state of “food insecurity”—undernourished and unsure where their next meal is coming from.  Read more

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