Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Thank you

To everyone who has posted a positive comment on our blog. So much of finding a better future is embodied in positive energy and optimism. It is always about seeing past the clouds to the next sunny horizon. You help us do that, and we hope we help you do the same.

Also, we shot five new shows this week, and we are excited, in New England, about moving to ABC 6 on Saturdays at 3p, EST (this week, because of network commitments, 1:30p, EST). Watch for us as we add many new media outlets, and keep listening each Weds, from 12-1p, EST, to our show on WARL 1320 and their related, worldwide stream.

Nice piece on Ebay: How eBay Uses its Website to Drive Sustainability and Innovation
By Annie Lescroart
Published January 26, 2012

Here's the link:


Monday, January 30, 2012

Thanks to Mark Learn

For the good news out of CA: California air board to vote on landmark electric-car rules

By Paul Rogers
Posted: 01/25/2012 04:48:58 PM PST
Updated: 01/26/2012 09:39:09 AM PST

Link to the news story: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/video?id=8519707

Part of the story: "In a move that could reshape the American automobile industry, California regulators Thursday are expected to approve sweeping new rules requiring that 15 percent of new cars sold in California by 2025 run on electricity, hydrogen or other systems producing little or no smog.

The regulations by the California Air Resources Board, dubbed the "advanced clean car rules," would start in 2018, ramping up each year and ultimately resulting in 1.4 million "zero emission" vehicles on California roads by 2025. Today there are only about 10,000 such vehicles in the state.

This is a really large step. It's transformational," said Tom Cackette, an engineer and chief deputy director of the air board. "Ten years from now, the market is going to look quite a bit different..."

How about this part: "The air board estimates that those regulations will add $1,900 to the price of a new car by 2025 -- but will save $5,900 in gasoline costs over the life of the average vehicle."

That is a significant savings over the added costs of the car, and could get better--hopefully, not worse--as gas prices rise.

We applaud CA for again taking the lead in reducing air pollution. We now have great technology and great cars for moving away from carbon-spewing, imported oil vehicles. The economics work long-term, and the benefits to our country, financial, political, environmental, are staggering.

Starting at 15% is a good place to begin. Ending at 1005 would be nirvana.

Plug in, America, and thank you, CA, for teeing up the newest, greatest industrial revolution.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Just a reminder of what we are fighting for

As we search for the very best reasons why we should invest in a brighter, cleaner future, as we contemplate investments and ROI's in sustainability, as we seek to balance ecological prudence with economic gain, it is important to stand back and remember, on a much larger scale, why there is no choice, no dispute, no other road to go down.

Here's a beautiful new picture of our incredible planet from one of our newest satellites:


Enjoy the weekend.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Get Ready for a Great Conference

Renewable Now is honored to be the media partner to the RI Compost Conference, being held next month at the Hope Artist Village in RI. Take a look below:

This is a very important conference and they've brought some terrific experts together to tackle the hurdles but benefits of getting this State to separate out food scraps and get the compo-stables out of the landfill.

Other states and cities, including San Francisco, have done a great job of single-stream recycling with pick up of compost. RI needs to do the same.

Get in touch if you have ideas, information on other states or want to be a part of the conference.

We'll have a weekend edition.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World index

Congratulations to Novo Nordisk for grabbing the number one slot in the World rankings of sustainable companies.

Have you thought about what it takes to get to that level? Have you thought about the positive impact on profits, operations and company image such a sustainable level brings? We have and we hope to be in that same list and, eventually, garner that same top spot.

How about you and your company?

Here's the story. Our best wishes, again, to Novo and everyone else on this very prestigious list:

(3BL Media / theCSRfeed) January 25, 2012 - Today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Novo Nordisk was ranked number one in the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World index. The index is published annually since 2005 by Corporate Knights – a Canadian and North American business magazine.

Lise Kingo, executive vice president of Novo Nordisk, is proud of the acknowledgment and emphasises Novo Nordisk’s commitment to continue the sustainable growth path that the company has pursued for more than two decades.

“This is a wonderful recognition of our Triple Bottom Line approach and a clear indication that Novo Nordisk is poised for long-term business success. But most importantly it is an encouragement to continue to find new ways of growing our business in a way that is profitable, responsible and valuable for patients, employees and society”, Lise Kingo says.

The aim of the Global 100 is to highlight the global companies, which are most proactive in managing environmental, social and corporate governance issues. Out of the 11 key performance indicators, Novo Nordisk is rated among the best in energy productivity, greenhouse gas productivity, CEO to Average Employee Pay ratio, employee turnover and linking the remuneration of senior executives with the achievement of sustainability targets.

Corporate Knights selects the Global 100 from a base of 4,000 developed and emerging market stocks, based on their sustainability ratings from the world’s largest sustainability research consortium, The Global Sustainability Research Alliance which integrates research from 10 leading firms across the globe including Goldman Sachs | GS SUSTAIN, Société Générale, EIRIS, and RiskMetrics Group.

Number two and three on the list are Natura Cosmeticos SA and Statoil, respectively. Novo Nordisk’s sister company, Novozymes is rated number four."

For more information about Global 100: www.global100.org

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Some interesting updates from The Better World Club

BP Axes Solar Power Business

by Terry Macalister, guardian.co.uk

BP has taken the axe to its solar power business, saying it "can't make any money" from selling panels at a time when it continues to spend $20bn annually on oil and gas developments.
The energy group, which once promised to move "beyond petroleum", was an important player in solar but has over the last three years gradually closed its panel factories and made around 1,750 workers redundant.

At the same time, the company has gradually retreated from other areas such as carbon capture and storage and shut down its separate London headquarters for BP Alternative Energy.

Ford C-MAX Hybrid

by Larry E. Hall, hybridcars.com

In a move to chip away at Toyota's market dominance of hybrid cars, Ford will roll out two new hybrid models in 2012. The no-plug C-Max Hybrid and plug-in C-Max Energi are based on the five-passenger C-Max sold in Europe. In an announcement in June to expand production of the two C-Max hybrids, Ford said it had changed its mind about the seven-passenger gasoline-only version of the Grand C-Max in the U.S and the C-Max will be a dedicated hybrid vehicle. The C-Max Hybrid will arrive in the first half of 2012 followed by the C-Max Energi. "This is our Prius fighter," said Ford's head of global marketing, Jim Farley, during a recent press announcement.

US Looks Ahead After Ethanol Subsidy Expires

by Rob Lever (AFP)

After a series of bitter political fights, the US Congress allowed a subsidy for ethanol fuel to expire at the end of 2011, ending a program harshly criticized by environmentalists and others.

By taking no action, US lawmakers ended the credit of 45 cents per gallon refiners get for blending ethanol, which in the US market is made mostly from corn, into gasoline. Also terminated was a tariff on imports of 54 cents per gallon which was criticized by Brazil, a producer of sugar cane-based ethanol.

The programs were in place since the 1980s as a means of curbing US use of imported petroleum.

But over time, criticism grew that growing ethanol use diverted too much corn from food to fuel, and led to environmental and land use problems, by adding to incentives to plant more corn. The program also cost taxpayers some $6 billion annually.

That is very disappointing news on BP. For a company that was heavily promoting their investment in green, clearly they have abandoned many of those efforts. Of course, the business side, as we've talked about, always drives these decisions, but it is very disappointing to see BP falling back from a transformation to "beyond petroleum" company.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Aquaponics Could Signal Future of Food/From Voice of America

Technique combines fish farming, soil-less plants

"Imagine growing vegetables and fish in the same space. That’s the idea behind aquaponics, a marriage of fish farming and soil-less plant cultivation in a single, sustainable closed system.

Supporters believe aquaponics can play a key role in alleviating food insecurity, addressing the problems of climate change, ground water pollution and overfishing.
Recirculating wetlands system

Aquaponics is really as old as nature itself.

“Aquaponics is really a recirculating wetlands system, so it’s happening right on the banks of our lakes," says Sylvia Bernstein.
Bernstein was a hydroponic gardener for years - growing plants without soil using a water-soluble chemical fertilizer - before discovering she could use the waste water from fish to grow organic vegetables and fruits.

“Honestly, I was very skeptical and just couldn’t believe that something as simple as fish waste could become a complete fertilizer," she recalls. "So I had to actually see a system that was in a friend’s basement. But when I did, it changed my life.”

That was three years ago. Bernstein built her first aquaponics system with her 15-year-old son on a concrete pad outside her home in Boulder, Colorado. In her greenhouse today, she mainly raises tilapia and trout - feeding them once a day.
There are no weeds in her aquaponics garden, and she doesn’t have to worry about watering. The plants are growing in containers at a table height for easy access.

“I, just this morning, pulled four radishes and some lettuce for lunch," Bernstein says. "In my greenhouse right now, I grow all sorts of herbs, tomatoes, peppers.”

Bernstein started her own business, The Aquaponics Source, with an online store, her own YouTube channel and a blog. She teaches aquaponics at the Denver Botanic Gardens and recently published a book about how to set up an aquaponic garden at home.

According to Berstein, a growing number of people in the U.S. and around the world are doing it, and enjoying the results: a year-round supply of healthful, safe and delicious food..."

We'll take a closer look on a future show.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Good news on the Chevy Volt

We've been following the government's safety investigation into the Chevy Volt after a fire had broken out three weeks after it had crashed in a safety test. Here's the good news from the Washington Post:

Government closes investigation into Chevy Volt, says car is safe

By Associated Press, Published: January 20

DETROIT — The government ended its safety investigation into the Chevrolet Volt on Friday after concluding that the Volt and other electric cars don’t pose a greater fire risk than gasoline-powered cars.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began studying the Volt last June after a fire broke out in one of the cars three weeks after it was crashed as part of safety testing. Two other fires occurred later related to separate safety tests, and NHTSA opened an official investigation into the vehicle on Nov. 25.

The agency and General Motors Co. know of no fires in real-world crashes.

GM and federal safety officials say they believe the fires were caused by coolant leaking from damaged plastic casing around the batteries after side-impact collisions. The coolant caused an electrical short, which sparked battery fires seven days to three weeks after the crashes.

GM announced earlier this month that it will add steel plates to about 12,000 existing Volts to protect the batteries in the event of a crash. The company has sold around 8,000 Volts and 4,000 are still for sale. GM is repairing the vehicles for free. NHTSA didn’t order the recall, as it sometimes does after a safety investigation.

GM said Friday that NHTSA’s decision to close the investigation is consistent with the results of its own internal testing. It said the steel plates will provide additional protection and minimize fire risk in the days and weeks after a crash.

NHTSA said Friday that it “continues to believe that electric vehicles show great promise as a safe and fuel-efficient option,” and that based on available data, electric cars don’t appear to be riskier than gas-powered ones.

But the agency said electric cars do have some specialized components, and the agency has developed guidelines for firefighters and other responders on how to handle electric cars after a crash."

As we are big believers in EV's and transitioning to Volt's and other electrical vehicles, this came as great news and, hopefully, clears the way for their sales to get back on track.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Story from ProJo/Weekend Edition

This is an interesting story as you watch two states share a resource, in this case, the Blackstone River, but very much disagree on how to control the level of discharge and pollution going into that very historic, very important, to both tourism, river.

"R.I. A.G. criticizes Mass. environmental officials over river sewage; Mass. responds

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is criticizing Massachusetts environmental officials for supporting a wastewater-treatment plant seeking less stringent limits on phosphorous and nitrogen discharge to the Blackstone River.

Kilmartin said in a letter released Friday that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has taken an "anti-environmental position" by supporting a push by the Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement District for less stringent limits.

Assistant Attorney General Michael Rubin says the district's wastewater-treatment plant is discharging seven times more phosphorous and three times more nitrogen than is allowed in Rhode Island under federal limits imposed in 2008. He says the district is operating under 2001 standards while fighting the new limits in court.

Massachusetts officials had no immediate comment."

Our first city on this year's tour for the show is in Pawtucket, a city very much contemplating the river as an integral part of their past, and vital to their future. We just filmed a new show with a designer from the Pawtucket Foundation who talked eloquently about the City's development plans centered around the growing beauty of the Blackstone.

At the heart of the story is the economics of investing or not investing in cleaning up and preserving the quality of the river, and what happens if you can't get everyone to agree on the importance of the river as an asset to the area.

We'll hear lots more about this on tour this year.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Which States Added the Most LEED-Certified Buildings in 2011?

Very nice article from Sustainable Business.com that gives some insight into the changing landscape of commercial buildings.

We've had real state guests on the shows who have confirmed that efficient commercial buildings are the hot market in leasing.

Take a look: "SustainableBusiness.com News

Which states added the most LEED-certified square footage in 2011?

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released its 2011 list of top 10 states for LEED-certified commercial and institutional green buildings per capita, based on the U.S. 2010 Census information.

If you're looking at the amount of LEED-certified space added per person, the District of Columbia (not really a state) comes first, followed by Colorado, Illinois and the State of Washington.

The District of Columbia leads the nation, with more than 31 square feet of LEED-certified space per person in 2011, with
Colorado being the leading state, with 2.74 square feet per person in 2011.

However, in terms of pure square footage added, California leads by a wide margin, followed by Texas, New York, and Illinois.

In December 2011, USGBC announced that LEED-certified existing buildings outpaced their newly built counterparts by 15 million square feet on a cumulative basis.

The USGBC gives credit to its 79 local chapters as instrumental in accelerating the adoption of green building policies and initiatives.

Top 10 States: square footage to earn LEED certification in 2011

District of Columbia: 18,954,022 sf; 31.50 per capita
Colorado: 13,803,113 sf; 2.74
Illinois: 34,567,585; 2.69
Washington: 19,358,193; 2.42
Maryland: 11,970,869; 2.07
Massachusetts: 13,087,625; 2.0
Texas: 50,001,476; 1.99
California: 71,551,296; 1.92
New York: 36,538,981; 1.89
Minnesota: 9,591,445; 1.81

Notable projects that got certified in 2011:

Washington DC: US Treasury Building - the
oldest LEED-certified project in the world
Boulder, CO: Casey Middle School, LEED-Platinum
Chicago, IL: the iconic Wrigley Building
Lynchburg, VA: Frito-Lay, LEED-Gold for operations and maintenance of an existing building
Seattle, WA: Hard Rock Café, LEED-Silver
Annapolis, MD: Anne Arundel Medical Center
Boston, MA: Yawkey Distribution Center of The Greater Boston Food Bank
Austin, TX: Austin Convention Center, LEED-Gold
San Francisco, CA: SFO's LEED Gold Terminal 2
Syracuse, NY: Hotel Skylar, LEED-Platinum
Minneapolis, MN: Marquette Plaza, LEED-Platinum

LEED is the internationally recognized mark of green building excellence, with more than 44,000 projects commercial projects participating, comprising over 8 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 120 countries. In addition, more than 16,000 homes have been certified under the LEED for Homes rating system, with more than 67,000 more homes registered.

The USGBC has nearly 16,000 member organizations, and more
than 167,000 LEED Professional Credential holders.

The green building industry is projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. GDP from 2009-2013."

Notable, of course, is green building's contribution--554b--to the US GDP. That is good for the green economy and growing jobs while reducing our future energy use and pollution levels.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tell the FDA to Label Genetically Engineered Food!

We just did an interesting TV show with Pat Beck who talked about grass-fed beef and the proper way to raise cattle and other livestock.

Co-incidentally, we found this effort, being shepherded by Green America, to bring proper labeling to food. Take a look and either jump in and participate or sends us your comments on why this would be a bad idea (such as, possibly, the fallout from too much government regulation):

"Unlike many countries, in the United States, we don’t know if the food we’re eating has been genetically engineered. The vast majority of Americans would like to know what’s in their food, but so far the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has refused to require labeling.

Green America and its allies are working to change that. A legal petition (Docket # FDA-2011-P-0723-0001/CP) has been filed with the FDA calling on the FDA to label genetically engineered (GE) foods.

Now is our opportunity to be heard. We’re working with our allies to get hundreds of thousands of people to let the government know they want to know what’s in their food.

Let’s flood the FDA with comments so they know that the public wants labeling of GE foods!"

The link, if you'd like to sign and send in the petition, is: http://www.greenamerica.org/takeaction/GMO2011/

Thanks to Green America for their efforts.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

EarthSky on WARL 1320 AM

We get some great reports from EarthSky on our radio partner, WARL 1320 AM.

Here's a recent story on ocean acidification and how it will continue to deplete one of our great natural resources, one that pumps billions into the economy, ocean waters.

Here's the link: http://earthsky.org/water/joan-kleypas-on-ocean-acidification

Part of the story: "...Dr. Kleypas told us that excess CO2 from the atmosphere makes the oceans more acid – and reduces the amount of carbonate available for some ocean creatures to form their shells. She said:

When we think about a lot of marine organisms – things like corals, clams, oysters, things like hard shells, those shells are made of calcium carbonate. If you reduce the amount of carbonate in the ocean, you reduce the ability of the organisms to secrete their shells.

We often refer to it as being similar to osteoporosis. There are just fewer of the building blocks to build those shells..."

Another telling reminder that we need to balance industrial and commercial growth with preserving resources that are the true, irreplaceable assets of our economic platform. Excess pollution and waste erode, at a serious rate, our ecological foundation.

We will report more on this later.

In the meantime, take at a look at the EarthSky site for more great reading.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Enjoy the show tomorrow morning 9a, EST

Misc items this weekend/Weekend Edition

We will be reporting on various updates this weekend as we get closer to going on tour in 2012. We also have a new TV premiering tomorrow at 9.

First, USA Today reported this week that 72% of our greenhouse gases in the US come from coal-fired power plants. EPA also cataloged, in this report, more than 6700 of the largest sources of greenhouse gases, making up 80% of the US total emissions.

Just more evidence that many of the environmental groups have it right when they call for switching all power plants away from coal. We will do a story on this soon.

Also, a great report this week from the American Cancer Society, which you can read on their site, on the health costs to any and all towns, cities and countries on living in a decaying environment. There is no doubt, of course, that our investments in cleaning air, water and other resources will lead us to healthier futures.

More later.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Welcome to our newest sponsor, Atrion Networking Corporation

Atrion is a great company and now a great sponsor and partner. We are honored to have them as part of the Renewable Now family.

Here is a little bit about them:

Let’s face it, the world is changing.


Competition is global, business is 24/7 and economic pressure is rising. Traditional business practices – such as productivity, efficiency and customer satisfaction – are more important than ever. But newer challenges – virtual workforces, network security, mobility, quick and Unified Communications - are now demanding our attention. It is no longer acceptable for IT to simply exist within a business environment - IT must drive the business – its process, applications, communications and its success. And it must drive business in a secure, reliable manor available to employees and clients alike anytime, anyplace.

It’s not an easy task. But success never is. And we’re here to help.

Established in 1987, Atrion specializes in the fusion of business and technology. Through building relationships with and focusing on our clients’ business goals, we accelerate business productivity and satisfaction with full-scale customized technology solutions including consultation, project management, manufacturer-certified training, carrier services, telephony, software and application services, equipment procurement, local and wide area networks, managed services and digital, interactive and mobile media design.

Our trusted partnerships and industry-recognized affiliations offer our clients the widest breadth of technology solutions and expertise. Our AlwaysOn Imperative focuses on IT as a core business utility, driving strategic business productivity and customer satisfaction. Our personal and professional focused workshops, industry publications and diverse awards and recognitions exemplify our passion and commitment to ourselves, our industry and our clients.

We used them for a 1.0m upgrade to our computer/network backbone, and drove down the highway, full speed, without losing a wheel as they moved us from our old system to the new one. We also installed a VOIP phone system that is amazing.

You will hear a lot more about them as we go on tour and produce this year's crop of shows.

Also, how cool is this: Turn the Eiffel Tower Green?

"A concept to turn the Eiffel Tower into a giant green wall has been proposed as a symbolic statement of "the reconciliation of nature and mankind."The plan calls for 600,000 plants to be attached to the structure using hemp sacks filled with soil as the growth media. An irrigation system comprising 12 tons of tubing would be used to provide water for the plants."

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Thanks to Mark Learn

For our most recent story out of Germany. We will move around the world a lot this year profiling similar global investments.

Germany Sets Aside $130B for Renewable Energy

From WordPress

Part of the story: "German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on May 30 that Germany, the world's fourth-largest economy and Europe's biggest, would shutter all of its 17 nuclear power plants between 2015 and 2022, an extraordinary commitment, given that the plants currently produce about 28 percent of the country's electricity.

Underlining the government's seriousness in changing the country's energy matrix, Germany's Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (German Development Bank) is to underwrite renewable energy and energy efficiency investments in Germany with $137.3 billion over the next five years, Germany Trade and Invest reported. Overall, the German government's 6th Energy Research Program has made an extraordinary $274.6 billion available for joint funding initiatives in energy-storage research over the next three years.

It is by any yardstick an extraordinary (and expensive) commitment that may well have the collateral benefit of unlocking similar funding worldwide for renewable energy projects..."

Here's, to us, the key element in this: "Germany is already the world's strongest photovoltaic market and also accounts for Europe's largest share of installed wind capacity. Moving resolutely into the field of renewable energy, by 2020 renewable energy sources are expected to account for 35 percent of Germany's energy output, soaring to 80 percent by 2050. Germany now produces 20 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources, up from just 6 percent in 2000. The effort is in turn creating thousands of jobs and new industries..."

Critical is the last sentence: "The effort is in turn creating thousands of jobs and new industries." So, Germany combines energy efficiency, reduction in use of nuclear power with creation of new jobs. Perfect.

Let us hear from you, anywhere in the world, with your success story.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Renewable Now on demand 24 X 7

Click on and watch:

We can't wait to see everyone on the tour.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Environmental update on RI College

As you have seen, our next show is with the president of RI College (RIC), Nancy Carriuolo. It is a great show, and she is a terrific guest.

As a preview, we want to share with you some of the school's green success stories:

"The recycling program at RIC started in 2003 and has experienced continued growth especially the past few years under the Carriuolo administration. Since 2003 there has been a steady increase in the savings from our trash disposal expenses, approximately $40,000 average at the beginning to $60,000 today with this year due to get even more return with the President’s support of equipping each main building with a recycling collection center to enhance collection. These will be further enhanced when anticipated resources become available during the next FY.

Additionally, we are saving disposal fees again by providing local non profits with our e-waste, this savings just started recently but should be significant while helping local organizations.

This administration has made a major effort as it relates to saving valuable resources, energy and water, with a commitment to the repair and replacement of the college’s antiquated steam and condensate system. Projected savings could be as high as $500,000 when all the repairs are complete and the system is working at an increased efficiency.

Additionally, the college, under the President’s direction continues to use all sustainable materials as it relates to plantings, etc. which save on annual labor and the cost of plants, and shrubs."

And more: "It is almost inconceivable, but we have saved 12,000 pages of photocopies per month by putting our curriculum committee materials online. The committee operates over the academic year of nine months, so we’re talking about 100,000 pages of paper being saved per year by launching a single webpage (http://www.ric.edu/curriculum_Committee/CCDTS/index.php).

And, finally: "In keeping with the goals of your initiative, I would like to highlight some of the changes implemented by IT:
1. the use of power monitoring and control in computer labs and classrooms (as you mention on RIC's sustainability web site). I anticipate that with the completion of the Windows 7 campus rollout, USS will have extended this cost savings to all campus computers.
2. print conversation in the computer labs (http://www.ric.edu/studenttoolbox/technology_services/print_conservation.htm). USS actively encourages students and faculty to use PDFs and other electronic document formats as alternative to printing hard copies.
3. energy-efficient purchases - USS has purchased computers and monitors which meet the EPEAT gold standard http://www.epeat.net/
4. recycling - older less energy efficient equipment has been recycled to schools and non-profits which require less computing power. Recycling keeps computing equipment out of the State landfill.
5. RIC operates an energy-efficient data center which has implemented changes resulting in a significant reduction in power usage. Henk Sonder can provide details on these efficiencies.

One initiative that I was not able to introduce, but hope to see at RIC in the near future, is the replacement of disposal whiteboard markers with AusPen refillable markers http://www.auspen.com/pages/about-us. I'm sure that this weekend broadcasts will spark many such suggestions."

Pretty impressive stuff. Now, let's hear from the other schools. We'll tell your success story as well.

Watch this weekend as Nancy recalls growing up on a farm, and how those simple, humble beginnings not only helped share her passion for sustainability, but an entire campus as well.

We will have a weekend edition of the blog for you as well.

Enjoy and thanks for being part of the Renewable Now family.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A look back and ahead from our partner/EcoRI News/Part 2

Before we get into part 2 of the look behind and ahead from EcoRINews, just a reminder to listen to us today live on the air on WARL 1320AM, 12-1p, EST, as we bring you the business side of green.

You can listen on line, of course, from anywhere in the world, at: http://1320warlradio.com. And, feel free to call, email or tweet and Facebook in your comments and questions.

Now, Part 2 of a great summary and prediction of some future events:

"The Narragansett Bay Watershed. Despite the stress of tourist and lawn-watering season, it seems the health of Narragansett Bay is trending upward. Divers who recently worked to remove a sunken barge from under the Newport Bridge commented that the bay looked good, aside from the sunken barge. The Combined Sewer Overflow project can be credited with a lot of that positive impact. Without it, stormwater and raw sewage would be ejected untreated into the bay during heavy rain events. The adoption of the Low Impact Development Stormwater Manual will guarantee that future development in Rhode Island addresses the rates and volumes of stormwater runoff and groundwater infiltration.

The removal of the Pawtuxet Falls dam as a major victory that appeared in most of the responses that we received. Dam removal is an essential component to returning native species of fish to their natural spawning waters. Dolphins were also spotted in the upper bay in October.

Predictions: The bays’ health will continue to improve in 2012, but climate change could nullify those improvements. Thank the new low-impact design manual for decreasing non-point source pollution in our rivers and bay. The trend for dam removal will be met with some resistance 2012 from proponents of hydroelectric power and private owners of dams.

Renewable Energy and Efficiency. While Deepwater Wind plods along, land-based renewables got a shot in the arm last year due to a trio of laws designed to facilitate the quick implementation of small renewable energy projects in Rhode Island. A number of renewable projects were approved for state and federal funding in 2011. Fortunately, they haven’t all created the furor that wind turbine proposals in Charlestown and North Kingstown have.

Despite resistance to a commercial turbine in Charlestown, another renewable project in town is becoming a success story. The green design and geothermal heating and cooling at Charlestown Wine and Spirits are saving the store’s owners a ton of money in operating costs.

Rhode Island continued an upward trend in efficiency this year and is now rated as the fifth most efficient state in the nation despite a virtual monopoly on the business of efficiency upgrades in Rhode Island.

Predictions: Advances in solar technology will begin to lower costs dramatically while boosting efficiency. This will make solar power much more accessible and cost efficient to homeowners and businesses. More homeowner and business associations will pop up to facilitate larger renewable projects and Rhode Island cities and towns will begin to explore multi-municipality agreements for purchasing green power and funding projects..."

Our view: These are the essential building blocks, restoration of natural resources, in particular, that any town, city, state, province, country must make to preserve and grow their economy. These are the investments, we believe, that will have the highest ROI as we look back on these changes 10 and 20 years from now.

More on this on today's show and tomorrow's blog.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A look back and ahead from our partner/EcoRI News

Welcome to 2012. We look forward to sharing many great moments and shows with you.

Much of this week, we will be sharing an article from EcoNewsRI that offered a great retrospective, and look ahead, for RI that touched on many of the salient points of the business side of green we focus on, and has elements that touch every state and every country (from waste management to restoring farms to renewable energy issues).

Here's the first part of the story. We'd appreciate your feedback and comments:

2011 in Retrospect, and a Look Ahead
By ecoRI News staf

"Environmental Winners

Food and Agriculture. It’s no news that agriculture is big news in Rhode Island, and it looks like that trend will continue. There are now five winter farmers’ markets and more than 50 summertime markets in Rhode Island. The Rhody Ag project is up and running and shaping future farm policy from the farmers' perspective. Urban agriculture stalwart Southside Community Land Trust continues to spread seeds in Providence and environs while relative upstart New Urban Farmers has begun an interesting year-round farming operation in Pawtucket.

Another trend is the shifting face of America’s farmers. In Rhode Island, more young people and women are turning to agriculture as a means of sustenance and support. The bonus here is that those women and youngsters tend to gravitate toward more sustainable farming methods. For some, fertilizer-free food was a major reason to grow one’s own.

While turfgrass continues to be the state's top crop, the down economy is causing some sod farmers to diversify into fruit and vegetable production. The Rhode Island Nursery and Landscape Association and the Rhode Island Farm Bureau — organizations that have in the past butted heads on agriculture policy — have come together to facilitate the transition from turf to turnips.

Local seafood had a banner year in 2011, despite the continued friction over catch shares. Community-supported fisheries such as The Local Catch in Narragansett and Ocean State Fresh in Newport are popping up at farmers' markets and supplying more and more local restaurants. Aquaculture is booming as well.

Nationally, the upcoming Farm Bill has been of great concern to Rhode Island’s farmers. The bill historically has favored large producers, like farms the size of Rhode Island, and makes agriculture in Rhode Island a difficult proposition. The high value and cost of land in Rhode Island keeps taxes high and profits low for farms. Small farmers would like to see more flexibility and equity in where and when the Department of Agriculture spends federal dollars.

Predictions: 2012 will still see agriculture growing in Rhode Island. You may not see as many farmers’ markets, but per market sales will go up. 2012 will also see more farm-to-school programs. The capacity for processing food locally will be the next big hurdle for the state's farms and farmers."