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Human beings are the only
creatures that allow
their children to come
back home.
– Bill Cosby

From Around the Green World

     by Stephen Morris

How Cool is this? Leilani Münter, green NASCAR Driver

We’ve got mixed feeling about celebrities cloaking themselves in mantles of green, but we can’t help but smile about Leilani Münter who is well known for speaking out about environmental issues, who blogs in the green section of the Huffington Post, who is very active in the fight for environmental legislation, and who is also a up-and-coming NASCAR driver. To rub it in even further, she’s HOT, having worked in the past as a stand-in for Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Leilani uses her NASCAR platform well. In 2006, she started a section on her racing website dedicated to environmental news. She now hosts an eco site called Carbon Free Girl where she documents her efforts to become carbon neutral and discusses environmental issues and clean energy. She also has a blog where she is known to speak out about green issues. In 2007 Münter made the commitment to adopt an acre of endangered tropical rainforest for protection from World Land Trust to offset her carbon footprint from the race.quiet zone

In March 2008 Leilani went to Capitol Hill with the National Wildlife Federation to speak with members of Congress on behalf of the Climate Security Act. During her visit Senator Elizabeth Dole called Münter "a woman on a mission." That summer, Leilani spoke at a rally in Capitol Hill alongside Senator Barbara Boxer, Senator John Kerry, and Senator Joe Lieberman in support of the Climate Security Act. This doesn’t make us NASCAR fans, but it will make us Leilani fans if she can bring motor heads and tree huggers closer together.

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Solar Powered Trash Compactors in Philadelphia

In April Mayor Michael Nutter unveiled the first of 500 "BigBelly" solar-powered trash compactors and 210 companion single-stream recycling units to be installed throughout Center City Philadelphia, replacing all 700 of the old litter baskets downtown. The solar compactors are also equipped with the CLEAN wireless monitoring system so they are "smart" trash receptacles: each unit sends a wireless signal to alert staff when it is full, so managers can optimize collection routes in real time based on data from every machine in the field. The City had been making 17 trips each week to empty 700 wire baskets throughout Center City, at an annual cost of about $2.3 million. After replacing those 700 receptacles with 500 solar-powered compactors and 210 recycling units, the City collects only 5 times a week, at an annual operating cost of about $720,000 - representing a 70% savings. The City will save nearly $1 million in the first year alone, and nearly $13 million over the next ten years. The deployment plan was a comprehensive package including a 3-year financing program, a 4-year extended warranty and service plan, and a wireless monitoring system on all 500 units. "This technology will save taxpayers money, introduce sidewalk recycling and keep our streets clean. This is one more important step towards achieving our sustainability goals," says Mayor Michael Nutter.


Outdoor Living Space Created in 3 Days

Several businesses connected with Green Living Journal have teamed up to create a green outdoor living space for a nationally televised show. Treefrog Landscapes Inc. and Stone Soup Concrete are working with the Do It Yourself (DIY) cable network to create an innovative and unique outdoor living space that will showcase a wide range of local materials and businesses. Treefrog Landscapes has created a design for this space that will be implemented over the course of a three day period. In this time a nondescript corner of an existing yard in Plainfield, Massachusetts, will be transformed into an elegant outdoor room. This entire process will be filmed for the show "Indoors/Out" and in turn will be aired nationally during this upcoming season. All labor and materials are being donated by each of the participating businesses.


Give Us A Lift!

As part of their goal to make our campus facilities universally accessible, Yestermorrow Design/Build School needs to raise $25,000 by December 31, 2009 to install a vertical platform lift that will make their main building is ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible. If you’d like to help send check, cash or money order to: "Give Us a Lift", Yestermorrow, 189 VT Rte 100, Warren, VT 05674.


Local Seed Company Wins Lawsuit Against Genetically Engineered Crops

High Mowing Organic Seeds, a mail-order organic seed company based in Wolcott, Vermont has won its nearly 20 month lawsuit against the USDA for the premature deregulation of Monsanto’s genetically engineered sugar beets. Additional plaintiffs include the Center for Food Safety, Organic Seed Alliance and the Sierra Club and were represented in addition, by Earth Justice attorneys. High Mowing’s founder and President, Tom Stearns says, "This ruling is a success not just for organic farmers but for all who have hope for a healthier food system in this country. All wise solutions to our agricultural challenges should serve our physical health, environmental health and the economic viability of farmers and the communities in which they live."


Farm to Plate Regional Food Summits

The Sustainable Agriculture Council and the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund are coordinating with local groups to hold a series of regional meetings to gather input for the Farm to Plate Initiative's 10-year strategic plan to strengthen Vermont's food system. Learn more about regional efforts related to farms, food production, and food security. Participants will reflect upon their region's strengths and weaknesses and have focused small group conversations about how to build a more robust local food system by 2020. For more information about the Farm to Plate Initiative, visit www.vsjf.org .


And while you are there...

...that is, online looking up the regional meetings for the Farm to Plate initiative, check out this amazing calculator of population, CO2 emissions, deficits, and other worldwide statistics.


Dubious statistic of the day ... the US national debt now stands at more than $33,000 per person. What would Scott "Pay as you go" Nearing say?

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River Valley editor: Stephen Morris
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