Sunday, January 20, 2008

Event Notice: "Growing Green"

(Hi, everyone. Clearly, I've been away from the blog for a couple weeks. I started my Executive MBA program at Northeastern a few weeks back and that has taken every moment of free time since. Great program, but highly intense. Only about sixteen more months to go. I'm going to need to figure out how to keep the blog going. One idea is to have some guest bloggers. Do you have something green you want to talk about? Drop me a line and let's talk.)


It's still January right? So you have time to kick that New Year's resolution about increasing the "green" in your life into action. Here's some great motivation and know-how coming to us from just over the border.

The Westport River Watershed Alliance, along with other local environmental organizations, have put together a new educational series called "Shrinking Your Footprint". The first event, "Growing Green", is happening on Saturday, February 16, at 10:00AM at Buttonwood Park Zoo. Growing Green will introduce ways that people can maintain their yards and gardens in a way that uses little to no water, reduces pollution, and is cost-effective.

Future series events will focus on greening your life at home and through your transportation. More event info can be found at the WRWA website.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Event Notice: "Escape From Suburbia" Showing

Thanks to John over at hard deadlines and Kelly from Step It Up | Aquidneck Island for this notice.

Firehouse Theater in Newport is hosting a social and environmental issues documentary film series during the entire month of January. Of particular interest is the January 13 showing of "Escape From Suburbia". According to the teaser, this documentary "places the issue of Peak Oil and its consequences squarely on the world stage and connects the dots between the unsustainable suburban lifestyle and perilous issues of the 21st century, such as food production, population die-off and economic meltdown."

Peak Oil is the theory that the world's oil supplies have "peaked" or reached the maximum level of production given current known supplies. With that, we are in the proverbial sunset of our petroleum-based energy world. More information on peak oil can be found here.

Event Details:

"Escape From Suburbia"
Sunday, January 13, 7:00PM
Firehouse Theater, Newport (Google Map)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Event Notice: Wind Power Workshop in Tiverton

Great news on the local sustainable energy front! At the December 10th Town Council meeting it was decided to hold a second dedicated workshop on wind power in Tiverton. Helping to drive the decision was the announcement of the new Sustainable Energy Group we have formed in town. Given this new group, I was contacted and asked to attend. But I need your help.

This is a great opportunity to come out and show your support for sustainable energy. There is good potential for wind power in Tiverton. We just need the town to make the commitment to take the next step and begin gathering all the relevant facts and information. Hopefully this session puts that good foot forward.

Tiverton Town Council Wind Power Workshop
Tuesday, January 22, 7:00PM
Tiverton Town Hall, Highland Road

Hope to see you there! Feel free to pass this on to friends and family. The meeting is open to the public.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Help Support Local Land Conservation Funding Efforts

I continue to be pleased with State Representative John J. Loughlin’s environmental efforts. In another show, he recently sent Governor Carcieri an open letter requesting additional bond funding in his next state budget submission to help support three land conservation programs. Unfortunately, the letter hasn’t caught much attention from the local media. That’s where alternative media like blogs can fill the void.

I asked Representative Loughlin to comment on local projects that have benefited from other open space bonds. He graciously reminded me of projects such as Town Pond in Portsmouth, Pocasset Ridge in Tiverton, and the recent Treaty Rock farm acquisition in Little Compton. Many of these projects also benefit from other sources of federal and private matching funds, but unless there is local funding on the table, there’s nothing to match.

Here’s the letter. You can contact the Governor’s Office to voice your support by calling 401.222.2080 or by email.

December 17, 2008

The Honorable Donald L. Carcieri
State Of Rhode Island
State House, Room 222
Providence, Rhode Island 02903

On Open Letter To Governor Carcieri

Dear Governor Carcieri:

As you and your staff finalize a very difficult state budget, I would like to respectfully request you include in your budget submission, provisions for a $15 million in bond funding (over the next two years) to be put before the voters in November of 2008. The purpose of the bond issue would be for three land conservation programs:

$5 million for the Local Open Space Grants Program;

$5 million for the RI Farmland Protection Program; and

$5 million for the DEM Land Acquisition Program.

Please consider that without new bond funding, these important state land conservation programs will come to a halt in 2008. Moveover, Rhode Island will lose matching federal and private funding for land conservation - as much as $3 for every state $1 will be lost. Also, state bond money is a catalyst and provides seed funding for all three programs.

Rhode Islanders recognize the importance of saving our farms, forests and open spaces for future generations. In 2000, and in 2004 Open Space Bond Referendums have consistently passed with more than 70% of the vote. As recently as November of 2007, Portsmouth overwhelmingly passed a local open space bond.

In Little Compton, the Agricultural Conservancy Trust, together with other groups recently were able to preserve for future generations 120 acres of rolling farmland known as Treaty Rock Farm.

In Tiverton, we remain committed to protecting our precious rural character through the Tiverton Land Trust.

Our farms and open spaces will disappear if we do not act now to ensure they are available for our children and grandchildren to cherish and enjoy. In closing, you have shown great leadership in the past toward protecting and defending our environment. It is with that background that I urge you to help Rhode Islanders preserve our rural character and please include the 15 million dollar bond in your budget request. In return, I can assure you that I will work diligently to help ensure passage in the Rhode Island House of Representatives.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Thank You and Welcome

Well, it’s here. 2008. My goodness, I don’t know about you, but 2007 flew by. Thankfully, we’re all a bit older, wiser, and hip to what it means to lead a more sustainable lifestyle.

First and foremost, a hearty thank you to all of you who take a little time out of your day to read this blog and help it grow, offer feedback, and (hopefully) take some action as a result of its content. 2007 was a good year. My goal is to make 2008 a great one.

And thank you to the new friends I have met and been able to network with recently. There is a strong Rhode Island blogger contingency out there working hard to make our little state a better place. Be sure to stop by and say hello:

Natural News Network. A great helping of news, events, and happenings from across the state. This is a robust jumping-off point for the local green scene. They even feature green job postings!

The Providential Gardener. A wonderful site dedicated to all that which grows underfoot. From community farms to open spaces to home gardens, this resource is full of know-how for those with an appreciation and yearning for getting a bit more green out of your thumb.

So, now what for 2008?

One of the things I continue to try and have is that epiphany about is how to get MORE of our neighbors to have that what I like to call, “A-Ha Moment”. That moment where it clicks and doing one or two things to better Sakonnet and the planet make sense to them. At the end of the day, the reason folks end up treading more lightly is deeply personal. Maybe it’s reverence. Maybe it’s something more practical. We all have that reason that resonates best for us and helps tune our personal harmony with the world around us.

What I have observed though is that action (or reaction, or in-action for that matter) is very viral in nature. For whatever reason, we do what others do. Call it keeping up with the Jones’ or peer pressure or wanting to be viewed in the best light. We are a nation of Followers. That’s OK because we can use that to our advantage.

Here’s my challenge to you: Find one person in the next month to have the “green” conversation with. Make sure it’s a person you know well because you need to know the angle to take with them in order to help them have their A-Ha Moment. Do they respond best to facts? Or how about saving money? Or maybe even the heartstring tug of leaving a better place for future generations? Sustainable living is applicable no matter what makes your mo-jo flow.

If you need help, I’m here. Shoot me an email with a question or situation and I’ll do my best to answer it or find someone who can.

Here’s to a greener year ahead. Cheers!