Saturday, December 13, 2008
The semester is officially over!!
With exams finished and Fall Commencement tomorrow, this blog will be joining the students for a winter holiday until the spring semester begins on January 9, 2009. In the meantime, I recommend getting your "green" news and entertainment from some of the following sites:
Friday, December 12, 2008
I'm going to start this post by just assuming that you own one or more reusable shopping bags. If you do not have one yet, you can pick one up at the Rams Head Market on campus for just $1.50. Each year the US needlessly wastes 14 million trees and 12 million barrels of oil to make 30 billion plastic and 10 billion paper grocery bags. Having and using a few reusable shopping bags can have an immediate positive impact.
And using those bags is what this post is about. While many folks have reusable shopping bags, it is still quite common to forget the bag(s) when going to the store. For a some pointers on how to remember your bag(s), I recommend you check out the Bay Area Recycling Outreach Coalition's tip sheet at:
- Carry a super compact ChicoBag in your purse or backpack at all times. It's super small, super light weight, and super strong! For ChicoBag info, visit http://www.chicobag.com
- Shop at retailers that financially rewards you for bringing your own bag(s). Whole Foods gives you $0.05 off for each bag. After a few big grocery trips, that loose change adds up! Anyone know any other retailers with similar programs?
Thursday, December 11, 2008
What is a carbon offset? According to the ACUPCC:
“A carbon offset is a reduction or removal of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that is used to counterbalance or compensate for (“offset”) emissions from other activities; offset projects reducing GHG emissions outside of an entity’s boundary generate credits that can be purchased by that entity to meet its own targets for reducing GHG emissions within its boundary. Generally, offsets fall into two categories: 1) emissions reductions or avoidance, such as replacing a diesel generator with solar panels, and 2) sequestration, or removing GHGs from the atmosphere, such as planting trees that will absorb CO2 as they grow. There are many different types of projects that generate offsets in both categories, however different offset markets and offset standards only recognize certain project types as acceptable.”
While there are a plethora of carbon offset opportunities available on the market today, they remain largely unregulated. Thus there is still much debate about the value and actual impact of carbon offsets. To help universities understand the challenges and opportunities in purchasing carbon offsets, the ACUPCC has published a protocol document. You can read it all online at: http://www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org/offsetprotocol.php
Perhaps more interesting to us here in the Triangle is a report recently published by Duke University. With 13 schools in North Carolina having signed the ACUPCC, there is a shared interest in attaining carbon neutrality AND investing in local (i.e. North Carolina) offset production. The report suggests that state universities partner to drive these programs. It’s an interesting read and can be found online at:
So what do you think? Are carbon offsets a valuable short term solution to bring down net greenhouse gas emissions?