The Moraine Valley Community College Fine and Performing Arts Center (FPAC) fills its concession stand with green, sustainable products. For example they source their coffee from a company called Grounds For Change (www.groundsforchange.com). The specific coffee purchased is called Café Feminino Peru. Through a partnership between Cafe Feminino & Grounds for Change money for purchases are then donated back to a women’s coffee growing project in Peru. Here’s info on that project: http://www.groundsforchange.com/communities/cafe_femenino.php?.
“In 2004, we became one of the first coffee roasters to participate in the Cafe Femenino coffee project. As part of our ongoing commitment to this effort, we donate 10 cents for each pound of Cafe Femenino coffee sold directly back to the Cafe Femenino Foundation for funding specific grants that have been requested by the women producers. This year, thanks to the support of our customers, we funded the creation of an Educational Center in Northern Peru.” ~ Grounds for Change
“It’s always nice to be able to help, even in a small way, to support sustainable harvesting and in this case, to support the efforts of entrepreneurial women in Peru” Tommy Hensel, Managing Director, Fine & Performing Arts Center.
Great work, Tommy & FPAC!!!
Readers: What does your Moraine Valley (or external) department do locally that also has a global, sustainable impact?
* Before Apple made headlines by deciding to pull its products from EPEAT (and then reversed that decisions days later), you’d probably never heard of the Electronics Product Environmental Assessment Tool. That’s because the organization, while focused on making electronics more environmentally friendly, has been mostly concerned with evaluating the manufacturers and materials associated with the computers, printers, and other equipment we use every day.
In just a few days, however, EPEAT will launch its first tool designed specifically for you, the consumer. On July 31st, the organization will unveil its new EcoSense labeling system, a way for customers to judge the environmental impact of common electronics at a glance.
What do you think about EPEAT and electronic manufacturer’s role in social and environmental responsibility? What about your role when making purchases? Does it matter? Why or why not?
From Bill McKibben’s article in Rolling Stone: If the pictures of those towering wildfires in Colorado haven’t convinced you, or the size of your AC bill this summer, here are some hard numbers about climate change: June broke or tied 3,215 high-temperature records across the United States. That followed the warmest May on record for the Northern Hemisphere – the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th-century average, the odds of which occurring by simple chance were 3.7 x 10-99, a number considerably larger than the number of stars in the universe.
Meteorologists reported that this spring was the warmest ever recorded for our nation – in fact, it crushed the old record by so much that it represented the “largest temperature departure from average of any season on record.” The same week, Saudi authorities reported that it had rained in Mecca despite a temperature of 109 degrees, the hottest downpour in the planet’s history.
Pseudoscience and paranoia are the newest threats to implementing smart-grid technologies. A “smart grid” has the potential to increase efficiency within our electrical grid by collecting data. This could help ease environmental risks and improve service. But, there is a growing fear that the use of smart meters in homes could pose a threat to the health of the people living in the home. Liberal and conservative activists are opposing smart-grid technologies even thought they cannot really define the threat that these technologies post. The activists fear the transmissions that smart meters make but they fail to note that:
1. Smart grid transmissions are nothing compared to transmissions from radios, TVs, cell phones (which most of us keep on our bodies), wireless internet hubs, and countless other wireless technologies.
2. They note a fear of the technology but there is no solid evidence that actually defines harm from the technology.
The fear of smart meters echoes past fears of fluoride in drinking water and electricity in homes. There is a naturally concern over an innovation and benefits are discounted while fears are given more credit than they deserve.
SUMMARY: Within the next three years, it is expected that nearly 65 million homes in the U.S. will have wireless smart meters. But some California environmentalists, liberals, Tea Party supporters and other activists are not enthused by this. At the heart of the debate is whether smart meters can cause illness. Spencer Michels reports
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A study from Illinois State University found that Illinois is missing out on potential jobs in the under-developed wind-power industry. These would be jobs in rural areas where manufacturing jobs are greatly needed. Here is a link about the study: Study: Ill. needs more wind-power manufacturing.
In the past it’s been like pulling teeth to have major network Meteorologists go on public record recognizing global warming. However, that’s changing. Perhaps they’ve been asked to gloss over it, or maybe they just weren’t sure- regardless. The evidence is all too clear. The truth is not stoppable any longer- or so it seemed, at least in June, at NBC.
NBC Meteorologist Bill Karins said on Friday, “We’ve never really seen a heat wave like this in the month of June.” Sadly, in a few decades this will just be considered a normal June (see below).
How hot is it? It is so hot that NBC Washington’s Chief Meteorologist, Doug Kammerer, explained on air “If we did not have global warming, we wouldn’t see this.”
You can read more about the hottest temps on record in June and the implications of such here. This article from ThinkProgress.org will also link you to some pretty amazing facts, figures and images of the heat waves. Really interesting. At least I think so- do you?
After a long fight, the last two coal plants in the City of Chicago are about to close down. But a new coal plant within the city may soon open. Proponents say this coal plant will produce clean energy, provide jobs and ensure rate stability to utility customers. But others say there’s nothing “clean” about the project, and it could end up adding hundreds of dollars to your natural gas bill. It has quietly turned into a contentious battle, and on Tuesday, the emotions ran high as both sides tried to make their case. Read more…
The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) has developed the SEED Center (Sustainability Education and Economic Development). SEED is a FREE initiative that aims to advance sustainability and green workforce development practices at community colleges by sharing innovative models and resources and building the capacity of college administrators, faculty, and staff to contribute as leaders. There are a plethora of resources within. www.theseedcenter.org
And now, Green For All, another national organization mobilizing the green economy has also opened a new Green Jobs Action Center. Find information about the green economy—and the tools you need to make a difference in your community. Want to know the latest on green jobs policies—and what you can do to move them? Want to see what our community partners and hip-hop activists are up to? Read an inspiring story about a community hero? Or watch a hot new music video? Check it out at www.greenforall.org
The clean energy and green economy presents an unprecedented opportunity to grow American prosperity. Billions of dollars stand to be generated and saved using energy and other resources more wisely, drawing on non-polluting energy and material sources that never run out, and otherwise developing our world more sustainably (The SEED Center). The jobs and new industries linked to the potential of the green and clean economy are vast and, some might say, are only limited by a lack of foresight and creativity. Learn more about it through these online resources, or visit the Center for Sustainability at MVCC.