Archives For Environmental

This is a great quote that can be applied to many of the lessons we learn in this crazy life. Making choices to live in a way that’s environmentally sustainable can be challenging sometimes and that may get discouraging. When it seems like all of the news related to the environment is negative and it would just be easier to give up just keep your eyes open for the benefits that come from this journey on the road that sometimes seems to be less traveled and be encouraged to stick to it. Its never too late.

Never Too Late

Never too old, never too bad, never too late, never too sick to scratch once again. – Bikram Choudhury

With the arrival of the Royal Baby – now known as Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the resources going into tracking the activity of the Royal Family and what it must take for them to maintain their level of lifestyle. While the rest of the world is consumed and entertained by the celebrities in the royal family I’m wondering things like:

  • Does the Royal Family consider their impact on the planet?
  • How much energy must it take to run the Royal Household?
  • Do they really need a new designer or custom outfit for each appearance? What happens to the clothes after the general one-time wear?
  • What does the Family do for the community? And, why is the community voluntarily elevating the idea of a royal class?

It may be weird that my thoughts are drawn to the level of consumerism that surrounds an event like the birth of the Royal Baby but I’ve learned to embrace my weird side. To satisfy my curiosity, I began to investigate efforts made by the Royal Family to be environmentally conscious and found that they have a section on their official website dedicated to such concerns. It turns out that The Royal Household has a variety of green efforts implemented on their properties.

To begin with, they installed a 150 metre deep bore hole at Buckingham Palace to help combat the local risk of severe flooding and have utilized the bore hole as a resource to air conditioning and potable water. To generate clean energy, a small 1MW scale hydro-electric generator located on the Balmoral Estate contributes power to the National Grid and additional hydro-electric plants are being installed at Romney Weir with the expectation that they will be connected to the Castle by year-end. Furthermore, energy saving audits are performed at Buckingham Palace every 5 years to identify areas where improvement can be made since there are approximately 600 residents in addition to the many events that are hosted there each year. Finally, the Queen’s gardens are maintained with ecological methods in that the plants are native, habitats are left to decompose naturally and honey bee hives have been positioned in the middle of the gardens.

It pleases me to know that they are even the slightest bit conscious of their own environmental impact and are implementing sustainable solutions. However, I challenge the Royal Household to release a public sustainability report for their domestic and business impact on the environment. That would be cause for celebration!


What an exciting Stanley Cup Series – congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks for pulling off a dramatic win in game 6! You may find it interesting, as I did, that the Blackhawks have their very own sustainability mission in the Chicago community. Earlier in the season, they partnered with Constellation Power in the promotion of energy efficiency. They did this by hosting a Go-Green game that avoided 63 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) or 143 barrels of oil by purchasing Green-e Energy Renewable Energy Credits. This sponsorship was an opportunity to educate fans about their option to choose renewable electricity providers for their homes.

The five-time Stanley Cup winners have also partnered with the Chicago Gateway Green initiative as leaders in the community for responsible development that aims to leave the environment in a better condition for future generations. The initiative educates through beautification projects that execute sustainable landscaping, remove litter, and improve air and water quality in the Chicago area. Blackhawks Charities and the Team are bringing pride to the city of Chicago on the rink and through the collaboration of its sustainable partnerships.

For more information on the Chicago Blackhawks Charities, check out their community report here.

Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Championship Primary logo 2013


As a resident of the San Diego Coastal Community, I have a vested interest in the research being done on how climate change will impact the communities like mine. So I took a particular interest in the June 13th publication on the Take Part website that summarized the detailed report conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on populations that have potential for being exposed to coastal flooding and other disastrous events. The top 15 vulnerable cities are reviewed on the Take Part website but the OECD report provides more information on 135 cities that are in exposed areas over the next 70 years, San Diego is currently listed as 109th in the ranking.

The top 15 include:

1.  Mumbai, India:
Population at risk in 2005: 2.8 million
Estimated population at risk in 2070: 11.4 million

2.  Guangzhou, China:
Population at risk in 2005: 2.7 million
Estimated population at risk in 2070: 10.3 million

3.  Shanghai, China:
Population at risk in 2005: 2.4 million
Estimated population at risk in 2070: 5.5 million

4.  Miami, FL:
Population at risk in 2005: 2.0 million
Estimated population at risk in 2070: 4.8 million

5.  Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam:
Population at risk in 2005: 1.9 million
Estimated population at risk in 2070: 9.2 million

6.  Kolkata (Calcutta), India:
Population at risk in 2005: 1.9 million
Estimated population at risk in 2070: 14 million

7.  New York City, Newark:
Population at risk in 2005: 1.5 million
Estimated population at risk in 2070: 2.9 million

8.  Osala-Kobe, Japan:
Population at risk in 2005: 1.4 million
Estimated population at risk in 2070: 2.0 million

9.  Alexandria, Egypt:
Population at risk in 2005: 1.3 million
Estimated population at risk in 2070: 4.4 million

10. New Orleans, LA:
Population at risk in 2005: 1.1 million
Estimated population at risk in 2070: 1.4 million

11. Tokyo, Japan:
Population at risk in 2005: 1.1 million
Estimated population at risk in 2070: 2.5 million

12. Tianjin, China:
Population at risk in 2005: 956,000
Estimated population at risk in 2070: 3.8 million

13. Bangkok, Thailand:
Population at risk in 2005: 907,000
Estimated population at risk in 2070: 5.1 million

14. Dhaka, Bangladesh:
Population at risk in 2005: 844,000
Estimated population at risk in 2070: 11.1 million

15. Amsterdam, Netherlands:      Population at risk in 2005: 839,000
Estimated population at risk in 2070: 1.4 million

When I first saw the interview with Jonathan on The Colbert Report back in 2010, there was no way of knowing the impact this book would have on my world. It was enlightening to see that humans are so disconnected from our food sources. Many of us don’t see the connection between how our food is currently being produced and the damage it has on the environment and our well-being. When people ask about the food choices I make, they often follow it up with a quick “Nevermind, I don’t want to know. It’ll ruin meat for me.” That’s a HUGE problem and reason that this book is so important. It’s an honest approach that illustrates the immoral practices of factory farming, environmental destruction caused by the current system and physical harm to all parties involved.

Hey – If you like having no control over the fecal matter and other nasty by-products in your food, then there’s no reason to read this book. For the rest of us that do care, it is important to support local farmers in this battle against the giant conglomerates that are only concerned about the bottom line.

Check out Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer’s as soon as possible.


Sustainability reporting is a great way for consumers to have a better understanding a company’s of the environmental, economic and social impact. When done right, which generally means that it is certified by a regulatory organization, this is an important tool that many companies can use to showcase their efforts to participate in global change.

Elephants in the Glass House: Contextualizing Sustainability and Integrated Reporting | Sustainable Brands.

Recycling an old TV

June 17, 2013 — 1 Comment

We recently got a new TV out of absolute necessity as the picture on our 7 year old screen went completely kaput. Selling it is not an option since it is no longer working at all. So I have been exploring what alternatives are available so that it doesn’t ultimately take up space in the landfill or get shipped to an unethical recycler in another country.

Here are some of the options I’ve found:

1. The Freecycle Network: This is a nonprofit network that connects people who want to give away or find stuff for free in their own town. It’s a great way to reuse object that would otherwise be sent to the landfill.

2. eRecycle: It is actually illegal in the state of California to dispose of electronic waste in the regular garbage. This location search helps identify qualified recycling organizations nearby to properly dispose of the out-of-date electronics.

I would just suggest that you do your own due diligence when choosing a company to determine their commitment to sustainable recycling. R2 and E-Stewards are Responsible Recycling Certifications that confirm the company you choose is dedicated to following regulated recycling standards. There is a zip code search at

3. Donate to a thrift store: Many nonprofit organizations will accept donations of televisions and other electronics that whether they are working or not. Contact your local Goodwill, Salvation Army or other charities that accept donations. They may be able to repair or re-purpose the electronics as needed.

4. Recycling Events: The city also holds designated events for the sole purpose of recycling old electronics. Check out the Environmental Services section of your city’s website. For example, here is the schedule for San Diego:

Remember that any electronic no matter how large or small can be recycled and that each action we take to move in a responsible direction has a greater impact that we could know. Happy recycling!


University of California, San Diego will be the home base for the innovative energy storage technology that combines ultracapacitors with concentrating photovoltaic. This system is being designed to improve integration and saturation of solar power plants into the grid which will ultimate help the state of California attain it renewable portfolio standard goals of 33 percent.

Maxwell Technologies, Soitec Join Forces To Demonstrate Benefits Of Integrating Energy Storage With Concentrating Photovoltaic (CPV) Technology – MarketWatch.


The Natural Resources Defense Council published a good article summarizing the USDA announcement to reduce, recover and recycle wasted food in the US. Check out this article for more exciting information on what changes the USDA plans to make to reach their food waste reduction goals.

US Joins World to Take on Challenge of Food Waste | Dana Gunders’s Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC.

Over the weekend, the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station was permanently closed after being out of commission since January 2012. It was determined that the cost and risks associated with the repairs necessary to prevent the release of radioactive steam was far too great for Southern California Edison and the surrounding communities. This new development will leave California with two distinct areas to address, disposal of the nuclear waste and power generation replacement.

The San Onofre plant closing has left the state of California with one of the largest nuclear waste clean up jobs in the world. Radioactive waste continues to be unsafe long after generation as it takes between 10,000 and up to millions of years to completely break down. It wouldn’t be surprising if this major disposal process acts as an incentive for the state legislators to act even more prudently in favor of clean energy than the renewable portfolio standard already requires.

During the operation of the plant, it contributed to about 20% of the power produced for Southern California. This deficit of energy generation should be viewed as an opportunity for clean technologies to step in to provide a safe and renewable alternatives. The basic infrastructure for wind and solar energy has already been established so they would be the obvious choices to amp up the implementation needed to the necessary scale. Imagine wind and solar farms replacing the domes and waste of the nuclear plant.